The Journey to Energy Efficiency Retrofit Success - Part 4

Links to previous parts in this series:

Now that you have assessed your building, planned an effective retrofit and implemented the retrofit through a well prepared and managed project as outlined in parts 1 to 3 of our series, Great job! but this is not the end of the journey to a successful energy efficiency retrofit.


Part 4 - Control and Monitor:

This next step is just as important. This step is where you ensure realizing return on your investment. In this stage we continue to explore NRCAN Major Energy Retrofit Guidelines for Commercial and Institutional Buildings Principles content, along with examples from our past projects to highlight critical components and technologies relevant to this stage. The key components in this step are:

  1. Training Staff

  2. Ongoing or periodic recommissioning

  3. Energy use data monitoring and analysis


Training Staff

Having a well-trained team or building staff on the new technologies and systems installed during the retrofit project, as well as having access to well documented operational instructions on how to operate them are integral pieces to the retrofit project itself. This may involve investing in training the existing staff or adding a staff member(s) to oversee the activities that need to be implemented regularly as detailed in the next steps. The staff may need to be trained on performing regular inspections, ongoing commissioning, and proficiency in the Building Automation System (BAS) installed. NRCAN has developed a tool for assessing the training needs of the facility staff to assist in developing a training program to meet the needs of the building. See Further Reading for a link to NRCan’s Energy management training.


However, depending on the size and complexity of the new system installed, the energy service company (ESCO) or your energy management consultant, may offer training sessions as part of the commissioning process, as well as a monitoring service with a 24-hour technical support option.

Consideration when selecting a Building Automation System (BAS)

Many organizations are now moving to a user-friendly graphic based BAS system with an open protocol like BACnet. Through this, building staff can remotely monitor and control devices through a computer or a smart phone.

Example of BAS interface
Example of BAS interface

Ongoing or periodic recommissioning

As mentioned in the previous parts of this series, in order to establish a representative energy use baseline and tracking, and reduce equipment failure and maintenance cost, all energy systems need to be operating as per the intended design specifications and initial commissioning state.


To achieve this recommissioning is required periodically to ensure systems operate as per intended design and correct any operational non-confirming trends or parameters. NRCAN recommends either following the BOMA BEST standard and perform the recommissioning at a minimum every five years or implement a continuous commissioning program which can be integrated into the building’s preventative maintenance program.


The choice of which methodology to follow will depend on the complexity and size of the energy systems in the building, as well as advice from your energy consultant/manager.


Energy use data monitoring and analysis

In the initial stages of a retrofit project, energy savings are calculated for each proposed energy efficiency measure. The performance of the retrofit project is based on measuring the new systems’ energy use metrics against a pre-retrofit baseline year. Any variance from the forecasted performance/savings should be investigated and rectified or explained. Trained staff members or a third-party energy management company could be hired to monitor the energy use and report variances along with explanation and corrective actions. Energy Consultants can also provide insight into variances and recommendations for corrective actions. There are several platforms that aid in the data analytics however, a very common and simple method is to run a comparison between post retrofit energy bills and pre retrofit energy bills. The ENERGY STAR portfolio manager can also be used for tracking performance using monthly energy bills. A certified Measurement and Verification professional may be required to assess larger and more complex projects savings. This could be a contractual requirement and could be the ESCO responsibility if engaged in an energy performance contract.


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 analyzing energy data and savings.


Click here for a case study by Mann Group where a BAS was installed in a multi-unit residential building and an energy savings report was made comparing baseline pre-install conditions to post-installation. In the report consumption is adjusted for weather and total electricity savings of 31.1% are realized. Also included are training documents for building staff on the use and functionality of the new system.

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


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. NRCAN - Energy Management Training

  4. BACnet - BACnet: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

  5. BOMA Canada - BOMA BEST

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