A common question asked in California multifamily and/or commercial development is whether or not commissioning is triggered and what commissioning requires. Under the California Energy Code, commissioning is required for the following:
- New ground up, nonresidential spaces that are 10,000 sq. ft. or greater.
- The 10,000 sq. ft. building or spaces need to be conditioned – mechanically heated and/or mechanically cooled.
- A combination of nonresidential spaces in the building (gym, lobby, leasing office, mailroom, recreational centers, bathrooms) that add up to 10,000 sq. ft. or more.
- Grey or dark shell spaces/buildings may require partial commissioning at the agency having authority’s discretion.
- The first tenant improvement in a new grey/dark shell building/space may require commissioning at the agency having authority’s discretion.
Commissioning for buildings over 10,000 sq. ft. will include functional performance testing of the “… systems and components covered by §110.0, §120.0, §130.0, and §140.0”. This focuses on systems described in the building’s Basis of Design (a required document) and can include: HVAC equipment; Domestic Hot Water; lighting controls; solar PV; and water reuse systems. Items like irrigation controllers, mentioned in CALGreen, and garage ventilation requiring acceptance testing are also typically included in commissioning. Even if there is only one occupancy sensor or HVAC unit in the space, it will require commissioning. Other processes such as fire systems and elevators would not fall under the commissioning functional testing scope. One way to think about it is that the systems to be tested are the energy consuming or energy producing systems.
For more information on how to comply with Title 24 commissioning requirements and avoid costly pitfalls in design, construction, and operations, contact VCA Green below.
Contributing Writer: Chris Halamandaris, Energy Rater
Moe Fakih, Principal