To all building owners and property managers out there: while a 3:1 return on investment might sound too good to be true, that is exactly the proposition you could be faced with when considering implementing an energy efficiency program for your facility.  Pursuing a program to evaluate and tune-up your building’s energy-consuming systems can yield a surprisingly high return in just a short amount of time.

The potential savings for your building are real and measurable.  Not only are there immediate reductions in energy consumption, there are many less-tangible benefits as well – such as prolonged equipment life, comfortable and satisfied building occupants, and enhanced environmental credibility (including third-party evaluations such as LEED and ENERGY STAR).

Many people are aware of the statistics for building energy use.  In the United States, commercial buildings alone consume nearly 20% of all energy produced.  Much of this energy is simply wasted because building systems are not operating efficiently.  This translates into unnecessary expense and CO2 emissions which could be avoided.

There are many reasons why the performance of buildings degrades over time, including:

– No commissioning or improper commissioning during construction
– System wear and tear
– Operator error
– Occupant behavior
– Environmental factors, such as the building’s climate zone

Many building owners and operators don’t consider many of these factors, or don’t think to address them until a system fails or something else goes wrong.  They simply assume that if a building is functioning there isn’t any reason to make changes (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it). The reality, though, is that buildings are complex, and there are many interdependencies between systems which are difficult to identify, and which can be thrown out of balance very easily.  Left unchecked, an improperly tuned building will cost more to operate, lead to occupant comfort complaints, and eventually experience premature equipment failure.

The solution to improve facility performance is retro-commissioning – a systematic process to evaluate and tune-up a building’s systems.  Our Connected Building Commissioning (CBCx) process goes well beyond the traditional process – by leveraging technology and focusing on operator training, our team is able to help our clients achieve significant and persistent energy savings. 

With consistently strong results from this process, it’s easy to see why more building owners and operators are beginning to take notice. The most common hurdle we hear from clients who are interested in getting started is difficulty securing funding.  We certainly understand there are always competing priorities, but our experience consistently shows that well-executed facility improvement programs usually pay back their value within the first year, and many within 6 months.

If you are interested in learning more about what a program would look like for your building, the easiest way to get started is by giving us a call or sending an email.  We would be happy to answer any questions or provide you with a proposal.


Matt Schwartz is a Professional Engineer, Certified Building Commissioning Professional (CBCP), and Certified Energy Manager (CEM).  As a Senior Associate at Altura, he is responsible for leading energy management projects which encompass new construction commissioning, energy modeling, retro-commissioning, and energy auditing.