Retro-commissioning consists of two distinct activities: the first is to understand and reestablish the operation and performance of a system as it was originally designed and intended. The second is to assess, optimize and repurpose systems to meet current needs and expectations. Retro-commissioning includes the building envelope and all of its energy-consuming components and systems. Retro-commissioning also considers the owner’s current needs as well as usage, business activity and the financial impact of investment in refurbishment and repurposing.

Areas of Investigation Performing RCx

The RCx can include any or all of the components listed below:

  •  Utility Analysis / EnergyStar Rating / Target Performance
  • Operational and Procedural Methodologies
  • Operational Needs Assessment
  • Original Design Criteria – Occupancy, Functional Spaces, Heat Load, Usage
  • Revised Design Criteria – Change of Use or Variation from Original Design Criteria
  • Automation System(s) – Functionality, Scheduling and Operating Logic Analysis
  • Thermography / Building Envelope Inspection for Moisture and Heat Infiltration
  • Primary HVAC Generating Equipment (Boilers, Chillers, Etc) Analysis
  • HVAC Distribution System (Pumps, Control Valves, Fans, Dampers) Analysis
  • Indoor Air Quality / Environmental Assessment
  • Ventilation System / Pressurization, CO² Analysis
  • Verification of Air – Water Testing and Balancing (TAB)
  • Lighting Audit / Analysis of Lighting Intensity, Over-Lighting and Burn-Hours
  • Opportunities for Day-Lighting, Solar and Geo-Thermal Energy
  • RCx / Energy Response Actions

Actions taken / recommended in conjunction with RCx can include:

  • Automation System Upgrades, software and reprogramming
  • Addition of control points and/or logic to accomplish new automation routines
  • Equipment modifications, relocations or replacements
  • Air – Water Balancing / Inclusion of variable volume and/or demand-base ventilation
  • Lighting upgrades, replacements, relocations / Light level, time & occupancy sensors
  • Installation of peak-shedding or micro-turbines to produce power off the grid
  • Installation of solar and geothermal systems to provide HVAC and/or electricity
  • Installation / repair of structural and/or thermal system insulation
  • Caulking, sealing and waterproofing of windows, doors and foundations
  • Re-alignment of congruent and/or functional spaces to best optimize energy use
  • Changes to operating temperature and humidity standards
  • Revisions to operating schedules or routines
  • Changes/additions to maintenance programs


Retro-commissioning is a highly targeted and specialized activity that is more involved and complex than new construction commissioning. Metropolitan Facilities Solutions is primarily focused in the sustainably, refurbishment and repurposing of existing facilities and has developed and executed many RCX projects throughout the Washington, DC region.

Metropolitan Facilities Solutions  is a BGE Smart Energy program Retro-commissioning provider and can assist facility owners in the BGE and SMECO service areas of Maryland in applying for assistance in covering the cost of retro-commissioning assessments and subsequent energy reduction projects.

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