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Commissioning is among the fastest payback steps any building owner can take to reduce energy costs. Fortier Engineering offers traditional commissioning, as well as trend based commissioning. We offer commissioning for LEED, both Fundamental and Enhanced, (Energy and Atmosphere prerequisite and credits EAp1 and EAc3) and have experience with commissioning LEED projects.

We offer trend based commissioning, which can be a very cost effective form of commissioning for building owners with building automation and control systems. Trend based commissioning is very similar to monitoring based commissioning, the major difference being that trend based commissioning is not a real time process. Monitoring based commissioning is a real time analysis of the operation of the HVAC and other energy consuming systems in a building.

Trend based commissioning is a form of ongoing monitoring based commissioning that harnesses the power of a Building Automation and Control System (BACS) to analyze the operation of major pieces of energy using equipment and determine if the equipment is operating optimally, without time consuming field testing and inspection. A modern BACS often has all of the power necessary to provide enough data that, with proper analysis, can reveal weaknesses and deficiencies in a building's operation. This type of analysis can also uncover the source of comfort and maintenance problems that would otherwise go undetected.

To understand the power of trend based commissioning one must understand what a trend is in BACS terms. A trend is a collection of data, taken at some regular interval (hourly, every 15 minutes, etc.). A large building or campus can have thousands of control points, so that trending each point every hour would generate hundreds of thousands of data points each week. Analyzing this data with the right software can uncover problems and generate solutions that could never be detected manually. We can develop an in house program that allows us to quickly analyze up to thousands of trended points, and automatically detect problems that affect comfort or energy costs. Examples of problems that trend based commissioning can uncover are:

  • Determine if all systems are performing according to the design
  • Determine causes of comfort problems
  • Detect inoperative or malfunctioning energy saving programs
  • Determine if sensors are out of calibration
  • Determine if programs are unnecessarily in override
  • Determine if variable flow systems are properly reacting to changing load conditions
  • Determine if free cooling economizer programs are working


Retrocommissioning and related forms of retrocommissioning typically produce the quickest simple payback of any energy conservation activity - usually less than two years, and often much less than one year. Formal definitions of commissioning, retrocommissioning, and recommissioning can be found elsewhere, so in the interest of brevity the following distinctions can be made: all three terms relate to processes intended to result in buildings that operate according to a building owner's requirements and perform as the designers intended. Retrocommissioning relates to an existing building that has never been commissioned, and recommissioning relates to a building that has previously been commissioned, and both terms are often equated to giving a building a tune-up. Commissioning would be performed for a new building or building renovation.


Continuous, ongoing, monitoring based, and trend based commissioning are all terms that describe processes that could be considered a subset of retrocommissioning. These processes take Retrocommissioning a step further by measuring and analyzing building operating data on a continuing basis, and using the results of the analysis to operate the building in an optimal manner. Large buildings tend to have very complicated systems, and the performance of these complicated systems tends to degrade over time. System performance can degrade for a variety of reasons, including operator error, lack of understanding of the correct operation by building staff, staff turnover, software failures, undetected equipment failures, and temporary overrides that become permanent.

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