The Journey to Energy Efficiency Retrofit Success - Part 3

Updated: Sep 30

After phase 1 – Assess, and phase 2 – Plan have been completed. We continue to present Natural Resource Canada's (NRCan) recommendations for phase 3 – Implement with practical examples and input based on our organization’s experience in the field of energy management retrofits.


You can check our phase 1 and phase 2 posts on our blog.

Contractors reviewing construction plans on site
Contractors reviewing construction plans on site

Phase 3 – IMPLEMENT

The Implementation is very critical to the retrofit project success. Choosing the right management strategies of all stakeholders in this stage ensures meeting the energy savings goals, and avoiding cost overruns that could diminish the returns of the project.


This phase is mainly about construction management. NRCan addresses this phase by breaking it down into 3 stages:


Stage 1 - Managing Your Project

NRCan recommends using the benchmarking tool ENERGY STAR as a guide to determining whether a project can be managed internally if the resources are available, or if it should be managed by a professional. If the ENRGYSTAR score is higher than 50 the guide recommends that the project may be handled internally, and if it’s less than 50, then it will likely be a complex project and may require the service of an experienced energy retrofit project management professional to manage it. Energy professionals and property management organizations may use other benchmarking tools.


The success of projects is highly dependent on meeting stakeholders’ expectations. Needless to say, actively managing stakeholders is key to success. In an energy retrofit project this means managing expectations and communication between engineers, contractors, tenants, owners, facility management personnel, and maintenance personnel.

Just as important as managing stakeholders, is managing risk. Managing risk is about running through scenarios in the planning phase and preparing responses to mitigate or planning to eliminate the risk by design from the start. In most projects, risks are concentrated in scope, schedule, and budget. Risk mitigation measures reflect in the budget’s contingency reserves and using risk sharing strategies with contractors that are built into the contract type.

A typical construction project is managed by most companies according to the PMI Project management process five stages of Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling and Closing.

Depending on the owner’s experience and resources, they would engage in one of these two common arrangements:

  1. Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC)/Turnkey Projects – All work is done by a single company including design and build for a fixed cost. The Managing company handles the bidding for the different parts of the project work, contractor selection, management, commissioning, and handoff.

  2. Consulting/Project Management – The consulting company operates under a time and material contract or fixed price contract. The company develops the specs, designs, and tender package. Then, the company manages the bidding process and submits contractor recommendations to the client for approval. Lastly, it manages the construction project through to closing and commissioning.

Mann Group performed one of the larger energy retrofit projects in Scotia Plaza under an EPC contract, which contributed to awarding its platinum LEED certification.


Stage 2 – Selecting a Contractor

If the owner or their team are hiring contractors for their project, the contractors and energy professionals should be experienced in their field to ensure the project meets its scope, schedule, and budget objectives, and meets the stakeholders’ expectations.


Contractor Check List

Construction package floorplan
Construction package floorplan

NRCan recommends checking these key items when working with contractors in addition to the company’s procurement guideline and processes:

  • Cost estimates are provided in writing

  • If the contractor has experience working with the equipment planned to be installed

  • If the contractor is licensed and insured

  • If the contract or agreement specifies that the contractor will comply with local codes and regulations

  • If the contractor has WSIB insurance

  • If they can provide references or verifiable track record

In addition to checking the above, a contract should be prepared. If the work will not be awarded to a single source a bidding process should take place, and a bidders’ meeting should be held to ensure all contractors are aware of expectations.


It is important to mention here that doing some research ahead of the project to establish a market price for the project can be very helpful in the contractor selection and price negotiation process. Alternatively, working with an established and experienced consulting company to oversee the project and check the technical specifications of equipment and installation compliance with code can be of great value and provide the owner company with peace of mind.


The common types of contracts can be broadly categorized under:

  • Fixed Price

  • Cost-Plus

  • Time and Material Costs


Stage 3 – Commissioning and Project Hand-Off

The commissioning process is about demonstrating and verifying that the equipment and systems installed are operating according to design specs. A systems manual will be developed as well as training the facility’s staff.


It is very important to ensure that commissioning is included as part of the contractor’s contract as well as Warranties for equipment parts and labor. Energy Service Companies and consulting companies will ensure contractors include these critical items in their contracts and deliver on them.


Energy Professionals as well as NRCan recommend that after an energy retrofit project a Measurement and Verification (M&V) program is implemented to ensure the savings from the retrofit are realized.


Stay tuned for part 4 of our series: Phase 4 - Maintaining your Performance


How We Can Help

Mann Energy Solutions is a professional consulting engineering company that specializes in energy management, including energy audits, mechanical/electrical engineering and implementation and has extensive experience as both consultant and contractor through all kinds of contracts and agreements.


For more information or a complimentary assessment contact us through the main site, info@mannenergysolutions.com, or call (416) 201 9109 x 158.


Resources and Further Reading

  1. NRCAN – Major Energy Retrofit Guidelines for commercial and Institutional Buildings PRINCIPLES

  2. NRCAN – Major Energy Retrofit Guidelines for commercial and Institutional Buildings OFFICE BUILDINGS

  3. ENERGY STAR - Understand Portfolio Manager Metrics

  4. SCOTIA PLAZA - Sustainability

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