LBNL Study: Building Commissioning is Cost-Effective Way to Cut Energy Costs, Greenhouse Gas Emissions

July 23, 2009

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) has released a report titled “Building Commissioning: A Golden Opportunity for Reducing Energy Costs and Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” which studied data on 643 buildings representing a total of 99 million square feet of floor space, and provides the largest database of case studies on commissioning new and existing buildings. Commissioning, according to LBNL, guarantees building owners get what they pay for in new construction and retrofits, offers “insurance” that initiatives will hit targets, and fixes potential maintenance or safety issues. “The results,” says the lab, “demonstrate that commissioning is arguably the single-most cost-effective strategy for reducing energy, costs, and greenhouse-gas emissions in buildings today.”

Among LBNL’s findings:

  • Median commissioning costs per square foot: $0.30 (existing buildings), $1.16 (new construction)
  • Median whole-building energy savings: 16%, 13%
  • Median payback times: 1.1 years, 4.2 years
  • It pays to be high-tech, comprehensive: High-tech buildings are cost-effective, and offer considerable energy and emissions savings, while projects with a comprehensive commissioning approach attained nearly twice the overall median level of savings.

Find more information and the full report at the LBNL web site.