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Measurement, Verification, and Commissioning. Why You Need M&V. To assure yourself that the project is performing as expected To report achieved savings to HUD To assure savings persistence To verify a savings guarantee or calculate the ESCO payment

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Measurement, Verification, and Commissioning

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Measurement, Verification,

and Commissioning

Why You Need M&V

  • To assure yourself that the project is performing as expected

  • To report achieved savings to HUD

  • To assure savings persistence

  • To verify a savings guarantee or calculate the ESCO payment

  • To establish basis for savings adjustments if needed

M&V Needs to Address 3 Things

  • How baseline of energy use or costs will be established

  • How energy savings after project installation will be determined

  • How the baseline will be adjusted if large changes in the operation of the building occur after project installation

The Concept of M&V Can be Simple

  • For Example:

    • Average of energy bills for last 3 years gives a baseline of energy use or energy costs

    • Compare energy bills after project installation to baseline to determine savings

    • If large changes in the operation of the building occur, it may be necessary to adjust the baseline

Measurement and Verification Steps

  • Pre-ECM Installation

    • Establish baseline energy use: established with most recent 3 years of utility data (usually the rolling base for contract)

    • Verify baseline conditions: occupancy patterns, vacancy rates, equipment usage

    • Determine appropriate M&V methodology to use and necessary details for data collection and reporting

Measurement and Verification Steps (cont.)

  • Post-ECM Installation

    • Verify installation and correct operation

    • Verify ongoing potential to generate savings

    • Adjust baseline energy use for material and weather changes, if necessary

    • Quantify post-installation energy use

    • Quantify energy and cost savings

    • Report savings to HA on monthly or quarterly basis (annually to HUD)

Elements of Savings Determination




2) Baseline


Adjusted Baseline

1) Baseline

Energy Usage

“Contracted” Savings

3) Post-ECM


“Apparent” Savings



  • Baseline — mutually agreed upon, calculated or measured energy use and cost, usually an average of most previous 3 years of utility data

  • Post-ECM performance — post-ECM calculated or measured energy use and cost

  • Adjusted baseline — adjustments due to changes beyond the ESCO’s control, such as:

    • Occupancy, equipment loading or efficiencies, or building usage changes

    • Set point changes

    • Physical changes to a building

    • Weather

Definitions (cont.)

  • Adjusted baseline — adjustments due to changes beyond the ESCO’s control, such as:

    • Occupancy or building usage

    • Set point temperatures or scheduling

    • Physical changes to building envelope or structure

    • Weather conditions

    • Equipment loading and/or operating efficiency

    • Recent maintenance work that affects equipment operation or performance

    • Utility rate adjustment

Calculating Savings




Measured/ Calculated/ Stipulated














Use Standard M&V Protocols

  • International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol (IPMVP, formerly NEMVP)

    • The general guideline — a living document

    • 1-800-DOE-EREC or

  • Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) M&V Guidelines

    • Application of IPMVP for federal sector

    • 1-800-DOE-EREC or

  • American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Guideline 14

    • Technical foundation


M&V Options

  • A - Estimate performance & operation by ECM

  • B - Measure performance & operation by ECM

  • C - Measure combined performance/operation for whole building or site

  • D - Calibrate a model to Option B and/or C data, estimate performance & operation

M&V Options: Cost vs. Accuracy

Customer and ESCO balance cost and accuracy

M&V Reporting Requirements

  • Submitted monthly or quarterly (reports should clearly indicate performance period)

  • Data from reports will be used for annual reconciliation with HUD (ensure that all necessary data is available)

  • ESCOs should review reports quarterly with appropriate HA representative and request written acknowledgement/acceptance of report from HA

  • Reports should have a summary page of savings followed by details on approach used, assumptions, data sources, and calculations

M&V Reporting Requirements (cont.)

  • Reports should thoroughly document baseline adjustments, modifications to ECMs and resulting savings impacts, duration of impacts, and reasoning for variations in performance

  • ESCOs should provide contact information for M&V inquiries by HAs

  • Both cost and energy savings should be provided for each measure, where appropriate

  • Details on changes in utility costs should be provided

M&V Lessons Learned

  • Pick the right option(s)

    • Balance cost, accuracy, and technical appropriateness

  • Baselines

    • KISS (keep it simple stupid)

    • If you have historical data, use it

    • If not, collect what you need during project development

    • Address baselines for every budget on the table

      • Energy, maintenance, etc.

M&V Lessons Learned (cont.)

  • Energy savings determination

    • KISS (keep it simple stupid)

    • Live up to your obligations (e.g., baseline adjustments)

    • Establish means of addressing unreported material changes and other savings disputes

Three Keys to Successful M&V

  • Keep it as simple as possible:

    (1)It does need to provide a reasonable basis for determining the savings from your particular project

    (2)It does need to provide a reasonable basis for verifying guarantees or determining payments

    (3)It does not need to do more than (1) and (2)

Retrofit Commissioning

What is it?

  • Systematic process that ensures that retrofit systems are designed, installed, tested, and capable of being operated and maintained according to the owner’s needs

  • Insurance policy; ensures owners that projects will have expected (or higher) benefit-to-cost ratios and that buildings are safe and comfortable

Performance Frustrations

  • 1994 study of 60 existing buildings:

    • 50% suffered from control problems

    • 40% had problems with HVAC equipment

    • 33% experienced sensor malfunction

    • 25% had inoperable EMCS, economizers, and/or variable-speed drives

    • 15% were missing specified equipment

Benefits of Commissioning

  • Quality Assurance

    • prevents problems from developing (fewer maintenance headaches)

    • anticipates and regulates system interaction

    • implements a method of meeting mechanical, electrical, and control requirements (incl. maintenance of equipment warranties)

Benefits of Commissioning (cont.)

  • Confirms Owners/Design Intent:

    • resolves design problems

    • improves performance of building equipment

    • improves interactions between building systems

    • improves IAQ and occupant comfort

TAB and Commissioning

  • Testing, adjusting and balancing (TAB):

    • adjustment of building air and water flows to meet design specifications

    • does not ensure operational performance (efficiency, control, system interaction)

    • a component of Commissioning

  • Commissioning is broader in scope:

    • diagnostic tests collect operational data to determine whether problems exist

    • functional tests apply procedures that may reveal causes of problems (efficiency, operational flaws)

The Commissioning Team

  • Building Owner or Owner’s Representative

  • Commissioning Agent (ESCO Representative or 3rd Party)

  • Designers

  • Installation Contractor/Manufacturers Representative

  • Building Operator

  • Testing Specialist

Commissioning Plan

  • Drafted by Cx Agent (included in ESA), finalized with input from Cx team

  • Addresses the following issues:

    • Scope or level of commissioning

    • Commissioning schedule

    • Team member responsibilities

    • Communication, reporting, and management protocols

    • Documentation requirements

    • Detailed scope of testing

    • Detailed scope of monitoring

    • Recommended training format

Design Intent Documentation

  • Occupants’ assumed intention of the design and of the operation of the building

  • Detailed explanation and documentation of ideas, concepts, and criteria that define acceptable building operation

  • Defined by bid specifications for each system

  • The commissioning agent must ensure that actual performance of the building meets the design intent

Design Intent Documentation (cont.)

  • Addresses the following issues:

    • System description

    • Objectives and functional use of system

    • Occupancy requirements

    • IAQ

    • Performance criteria (efficiency, energy, tolerances of IAQ)

    • Budget considerations and limitations

    • Restrictions and limitations of the facility’s systems

Commissioning Costs

Commissioning Costs (cont.)

“Must-Commission” Retrofits

  • Lighting control (daylighting, occupancy sensors)

  • Energy management control systems/strategies

  • Pneumatic equipment

  • HVAC-related plant equipment

  • Air-distribution systems

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