Building HVAC Commissioning

Building HVAC commissioning is a systematic process of verifying that all building support systems have been installed and are performing in accordance with the approved construction documents. Commissioning also ensures that all of the building's installed equipment meets the owner's intended operational, maintenance, and energy efficiency needs. The value of Commissioning is well documented as far as energy savings. Organizations such as the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA), U.S. Green Building Council and Portland Energy & Conservation, Inc. (PECI) have calculated anywhere between 15%-30% energy reduction for buildings that are Commissioned to buildings that are not. The owner/operator community also realizes the operation and maintenance benefits, where the maintenance costs are reduced by 15%-35% as well.

Images of HVAC equipment and buildings.

Benefits of Building HVAC Commissioning

Building HVAC Commissioning benefits include: enhanced building performance, lower operating costs, and greater occupant comfort. Building owners and managers, from government facilities to private owners, are incorporating Commissioning into their new building or retrofit projects in order to minimize their energy usage and operational costs. In essence, HVAC Commissioning helps building owners ensure that:

  • Proper project closure has been attained for all construction activities.
  • Post-construction operating and maintenance costs have been minimized.
  • Building occupant complaints have been reduced to minimal.
  • Building has been constructed and is operating as intended.

5 Tips for Commissioning Success

The HVAC Commissioning process can be greatly enhanced by following these five recommendations.

  1. Involve an HVAC Commissioning Authority early.
  2. Review and ensure the HVAC Commissioning Authority holds a professional accreditation associated with HVAC Commissioning.
  3. Implement Commissioning Meetings, with the designers during the design process.
  4. Provide HVAC Commissioning Requirements in the bidding/RFP process of the project.
  5. Include references to the HVAC Commissioning Specification in every specification section that is associated with the HVAC Commissioning Process.

The Three Major Components and Keys in HVAC Commissioning:


  • This should include verifying material and equipment installation. Verify that manufacturer's startup procedures are performed.
  • Review finalized Testing, Adjusting and Balancing (TAB) report.
  • Review installation of sensors and control components.


  • Witness automatic startup/shutdown and equipment sequence.
  • Verify that system alarms are active and proper sequences are in place.

Training and Documentation

  • Verify that adequate training is provided to building maintenance personnel.
  • Document HVAC Commissioning activities as well as document issues resolved.
  • Document operations and maintenance manuals for equipment included in the HVAC Commissioning process