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EA p1: Fundamental Commissioning of Building energy Systems 


To verify that the project’s energy-related systems are installed, and calibrated to perform according to the owner’s project requirements, basis of design and construction documents.

Benefits of commissioning include reduced energy use, lower operating costs, fewer contractor callbacks, better building documentation, improved occupant productivity and verification that the systems perform in accordance with the owner’s project requirements.


The following commissioning process activities must be completed by the project team:

  • Designate an individual as the commissioning authority (CxA) to lead, review and oversee the completion of the commissioning process activities.

  • The CxA must have documented commissioning authority experience in at least 2 building projects.

  • The individual serving as the CxA must be independent of the project design and construction management, though the CxA may be an employee of any firm providing those services. The CxA may be a qualified employee or consultant of the owner.

  • The CxA must report results, findings and recommendations directly to the owner.

  • For projects smaller than 50,000 gross square feet, the CxA may be a qualified person on the design or construction team who has the required experience.

  • The owner must document the owner’s project requirements. The design team must develop the basis of design. The CxA must review these documents for clarity and completeness. The owner and design team must be responsible for updates to their respective documents.

  • Develop and incorporate commissioning requirements into the construction documents.

  • Develop and implement a commissioning plan.

  • Verify the installation and performance of the systems to be commissioned.

  • Complete a summary commissioning report.

Commissioned systems

Commissioning process activities must be completed for the following energy-related systems, at a minimum:

  • Heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R) systems (mechanical and passive) and associated controls

  • Lighting and day-lighting controls

  • Domestic hot water systems

  • Renewable energy systems (e.g., wind, solar)

Potential technologies & Strategies

Engage a CxA as early as possible in the design process. Determine the owner’s project requirements, develop and maintain a commissioning plan for use during design and construction and incorporate commissioning requirements in bid documents. Assemble the commissioning team, and prior to occupancy verify the performance of energy consuming systems. Complete the commissioning reports with recommendations prior to accepting the commissioned systems.

Owners are encouraged to seek out qualified individuals to lead the commissioning process. Qualified individuals are identified as those who possess a high level of experience in the following areas:

  • Energy systems design, installation and operation

  • Commissioning planning and process management

  • Hands-on field experience with energy systems performance, interaction, start-up, balancing, testing, troubleshooting, operation and maintenance procedures

  • Energy systems automation control knowledge

Owners are encouraged to consider including water-using systems, building envelope systems, and other systems in the scope of the commissioning plan as appropriate. The building envelope is an important component of a facility that impacts energy consumption, occupant comfort and indoor air quality. While this prerequisite does not require building envelope commissioning, an owner can achieve significant financial savings and reduce risk of poor indoor air quality by including it in the commissioning process.


The LEED Reference Guide for Green Building Design and Construction, 2009 Edition provides guidance on the rigor expected for this prerequisite for the following:

  • Owner’s project requirements

  • Basis of design

  • Commissioning plan

  • Commissioning specification

  • Performance verification documentation

  • Commissioning report


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