Beginning with the End in Mind: Engaging Commissioning Early to Meet Sustainability Goals

Retro-Commissioning at McCownGordon is designed to reduce building energy loss.

According to the Department of Energy, the costs of commissioning for a new building range from 0.5-1.5% of the total construction cost. And, because the average return on investment (ROI) of building commissioning is realized in less than four years, the benefits of engaging a commissioning partner for sustainable construction projects far outweigh the costs.

Whether constructing a new building, retrofitting an existing facility, or engaging in monitored-based commissioning, it’s important to have commissioning experts engaged in your projects early. Read on to learn how engaging McCownGordon’s commissioning team from the outset of your next sustainable construction project could be advantageous.


Detect and resolve issues early

Our commissioning team conducts thorough reviews and assessments during the design and pre-construction phases, allowing them to identify potential sustainability-related issues early. By uncovering these issues early on, we develop and implement effective solutions, minimizing the need for costly rework or retrofits later in the construction process. This proactive approach not only helps ensure the building meets its sustainability goals but also enhances overall project efficiency, mitigates risks, and reduces the likelihood of delays or disruptions.

“When we’re engaged early, our commissioning team provides an independent perspective that helps identify other ideas and mitigate performance issues before they become more costly to change,” says Jereme Nollett, Senior Commissioning Manager at McCownGordon.

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Verify sustainable features

Engaging our commissioning team early allows for the verification and validation of sustainable features and systems throughout the build – not just at the end. By collaborating with architects, engineers, and contractors from the outset, our commissioning team helps verify sustainable features meet performance expectations and assures owners that their sustainability goals are being achieved.

“When our commissioning team is engaged from the onset of construction is really when we’re able to resolve and mitigate issues the quickest. Having commissioning on board throughout the construction project allows us to work directly with our project managers and be completely integrated into the construction,” says Nollett. “As a company, McCownGordon wants to turnover a high-quality, sustainable building at the end of the day, and having commissioning engaged from the start provides us the best chance to do that.”

Optimize building performance

Building optimization is not just about fixing issues; it’s about maximizing a building’s potential for years to come. Through system upgrades, retrofits, and advanced technology integration, our commissioning team looks for ways to push the building’s energy efficiency to new heights. Employing comprehensive testing and verification procedures, our team identifies and addresses performance deficiencies to ensure sustainable features deliver the expected benefits. This helps to avoid overusing equipment or short cycling, ultimately maximizing the long-term performance and sustainability of the building throughout its lifecycle. Projects that include building optimization and commissioning realize energy savings and experience reduced maintenance and future costs.

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Meet regulatory or certification requirements 

For those projects pursuing green building certification or are required to meet regulatory standards, engaging our commissioning team early is critical. Our team has experience with and understands a variety of green building codes, regulatory requirements, standards and certification programs such as LEED, Green Globes, WELL, EnergyStar, and more. Engaging us early allows for proactive identification and resolution of potential compliance issues, ensuring the project aligns with sustainability benchmarks and meets regulatory or certification expectations. By integrating sustainability considerations into the design and construction phases, our commissioning team helps streamline the path to certification, reducing the risk of costly delays or non-compliance penalties.

“At McCownGordon, our commissioning processes and documentation procedures are built around ASHRAE Guidelines and have been modified over time to simplify achieving LEED Certification. Our functional tests, templates, and reports are developed to be able to not only commission a building that meets the intended goals, but to submit to LEED with little to no additional effort,” says Nollett.

Smooth building turnover 

McCownGordon’s commissioning team provides comprehensive documentation and training to building operators, empowering them with the knowledge and tools needed to effectively manage and maintain the building’s sustainable features. This promotes a seamless transition from construction to occupancy, enabling operators to confidently manage and optimize building performance while maximizing energy efficiency. Our commissioning team helps to not only ensure that sustainability objectives are achieved, but that they also contribute to a smoother building turnover process.

By engaging our commissioning team early, owners can proactively address and mitigate potential issues, foster a smoother construction process, and ultimately deliver a more sustainable and high-performing building.
Whether your goal is to provide a measurable level of carbon footprint reduction, achieve a rigorous sustainability certification, or simply limit your environmental impact, the McCownGordon team can help you achieve your environmental, social, and governance goals.