Toole, Cory Dawson (2012-07). The Persistence of Retro-commissioning Savings in Ten University Buildings. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • This study evaluated how well energy savings persisted over time in ten university buildings that had undergone retro-commissioning in 1996. The savings achieved immediately following retro-commissioning and in three subsequent years were documented in a previous study (Cho 2002). The current study expanded on this previous study by evaluating the performance of each building over nine additional years. Follow up retro-commissioning work performed in each building during that time was documented, as well as changes to the energy management control system. Savings were determined in accordance with the methodology outlined in the International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol (IPMVP 2007), with ASHRAE Guideline 14 also serving as a reference. Total annualized savings for all buildings in 1997 (the year just after retro-commissioning) were 45(plus or minus 2)% for chilled water, 67(plus or minue 2)% for hot water, and 12% for electricity. Combining consumption from the most recent year for each building with valid energy consumption data showed a total savings of 39(plus or minus 1)% for chilled water, 64(plus or minus 2)% for heating water, and 22% for electricity. Uncertainty values were calculated in accordance with methodology in the IPMVP and ASHRAE Guideline 14, and were reported at the 90% confidence interval. The most recent year of data for most of the buildings was 2008-2009, although a few of the buildings did not have valid consumption data for that year. Follow up work performed in the buildings, lighting retrofits, and building metering changes beginning in 2005 were the major issues believed to have contributed to the high level of savings persistence in later years. When persistence trends were evaluated with adjustment for these factors, average savings for the buildings studied were found to degrade over time, and exponential models were developed to describe this degradation. The study concluded that on average energy savings after retro-commissioning will degrade over time in a way that can be modeled exponentially. It was also concluded that high levels of savings persistence can be achieved through performing retro-commissioning follow up, particularly when significant increases are observed in metered energy consumption data, but also at other times as retro-commissioning procedures and technology continually improve.

publication date

  • July 2012