8. A Greener Shade of Building Commissioning

A contribution to climate action

The static structure of a commercial building makes it easy to forget about the machines running inside and their contribution to the climate change.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change, buildings are responsible for about one-third of global energy use and one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. This doesn’t include the embodied emissions in getting them built such as cement, glazing, steel and building services equipment (including air conditioning, lighting, plumbing, etc.).

A practical and accessible solution

In the Project Book, Colin Ellis writes that projects are the lifeblood of an organisation. However if we look into all the projects delivered across different sectors only an average 34 per cent of projects are considered successful, a rise of only 5 per cent in the past 20 years. Organisations have been throwing money at project management for years and still don’t see an impact.

I am optimistic we have the tools and technology today for net zero buildings. But we must make project delivery faster and smarter to avert a disaster. We must deploy quality-focused management tools and training for project teams in the retro-fitting of buildings and constructing new ones. This will not be easy because the building construction industry has never had the time to do it right.

Commissioning guidelines globally have consistently done the right thing by expanding the role of commissioning throughout all phases of a project in particular the planning phase. Smart owners know that any system is only as good as its weakest link.

We see many benefits in project delivery when managers and stakeholders make a real commitment to commissioning throughout all phases including:

  • reining in energy successfully for the life of buildings
  • maintaining business profitability
  • operability and maintainability are prioritized
Read about attributes for commissioning here


The Project Book – The Complete Guide to Consistently Delivering Great Projects By: Colin D Ellis

Guideline 0-2019 – The Commissioning Process By: ASHRAE