Value of OCx – 2018 Initial Market Perspective

The BCxA/LBNL 2018 Value of Commissioning study examined market and individual building data for new construction, existing building, and ongoing commissioning (OCx). The market survey included 120 responses (83% CxPs, 17% Owners, managers, design engineers and construction contractors) from all regions throughout North America. Long-term building performance measurement, increasingly known as Ongoing Commissioning, or OCx, was included in the market survey. OCx is intended to improve operations management and drive energy savings. The process is not new. It has been – and often continues to be – a manual approach, but increasingly is defined as systems-level monitoring to provide owners and managers with continuous metrics to assess and correct building performance.

Market Penetration

OCx as a separately-identified form of commissioning is in its infancy, distinct from building operations due to its planned and prescriptive process and systems-specific focus on outcomes.

In the market survey, 77 respondents answered the question, “In how many buildings did you install an Ongoing Commissioning (OCx) system or apply an OCx process in the past 12 months?” Over 90% answered that they had done OCx in fewer than 5 facilities – mostly 1-2 buildings. Forty-three survey respondents skipped the question, leading to a likely conclusion that they had not performed OCx.

OCx Payback

The average simple payback for OCx according to respondents was estimated as follows:

Less than 6 months          13%

6 – 11 months                   15%

1 – 2 years                         37%

3 – 5 years                         28%

Over 5 years                      7%

OCx Market Status – From Never to Always

Although data is still being mined from individual building statistics and will be shared in the January Checklist, market-based messages came through clearly with respect to current acceptance of OCx.

In response to the question, “how often does the owner embrace the OCx process and make it part of their future O&M processes?” the answer to “always” was ZERO. There is probably a significant amount of owner/market misunderstanding and possible resistance to OCx as a separate entity and/or cost from facility management and O&M.

We searched through answers that were based on a spectrum from “never” to “always.” Here are a few interesting observations on the status of the OCx market.

  • An automated FDD scope is included in OCx planning less than half the time, and never included 22% of the time.
  • Utilities, which often provide incentives for projects that include commissioning, are including program incentives for OCx only 3% of the time.
  • More than half of OCx projects include energy and cost savings calculations, but many do not.
  • Over half (56%) of OCx projects are scheduled for post-implementation review on at least a monthly or quarterly basis, if the Owner moves ahead after investigation. Although protecting the investment is obviously important after incurring the cost of OCx, Owners’ acceptance of the value, and the process as a vehicle for long term savings, is still a work in progress.

Additional observations will be presented in coming Checklist cycles as the findings and interpretation of building statistical data are compared to the market survey for new construction, existing building, and ongoing commissioning.

We would like to hear from you about experiences (good, bad and ugly) in ongoing commissioning, and encourage you to comment at the end of this blog. Otherwise you may contact using the term, “VALUE OF COMMISSIONING” in the subject line.

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