Retro Commissioning

Buildings, equipment, and mechanical and electrical systems degrade over time and therefore perform poorly from the design intent. Retro commissioning is an essential quality assurance process that aims to revive equipment and systems to their peak efficiency.


Our retro commissioning solutions are dependable in a sense that they provide accurate results and consequently optimize buildings.

Cost Effective

We identify & eliminate unnecessary energy consumption, leaving you with maximal functionality for the minimum annual energy cost.

Quick Turnaround

Our engineers have wealth of experience in retro commissioning and as a result the process becomes relatively faster to complete.

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Retro Commissioning and Building Reports


What is Retro Commissioning

Retro commissioning is a multi-stakeholder and comprehensive quality-assurance process that is aimed at improving the existing building’s systems and equipment to perform optimally. It is alternatively termed as the “existing building commissioning”. Whichever alternative name they call it, it basically refers to the same – that is, commissioning of existing buildings.

We specialize in all types of building commissioning: retro, ongoing, fundamental, enhanced, and many more. Our professional engineers have been in the industry for a long time providing building commissioning to a plethora of clients. Plenty of clients in Chicago, New York and abroad know us for the excellence we show in retro commissioning.

Retro commissioning does not apply only to “uncommissioned” buildings. Buildings, equipment, and systems, regardless of whether they were commissioned 10 years ago, fade in quality over time. Thus this exposes them to poor performance that could probably lead to exorbitant costs in maintenance, operations, and repairs.

The HVAC systems installed 20 years ago may not function as optimal as they were back then. As a result, you may be losing lots of money in energy consumption and consequently breaking your bank every month. Such pitfalls in performance may affect occupant comfort and safety and eventually productivity in a commercial environment.

Our retro commissioning solves the above-mentioned problems. We will assess your building in line with the design intent (alternatively called Owner’s Project Requirements). The ultimate results will be impressive as they were when the building was erected.

Most of the old buildings were constructed with fewer or no considerations on energy efficiency. They were therefore not commissioned. Retro commissioning can play a significant role in optimizing such buildings and their associated mechanical and electrical systems.

Why consider Retro Commissioning?

Perhaps your cooling and heating systems are no longer working efficiently and your tenants start to complain. Or perhaps your monthly bill leaves you with jaw-dropping reactions. Or maybe your business is operating at a loss mainly due to exorbitant and unbearable energy costs. All these are drivers of retro commissioning in old buildings.

Retro commissioning is an important process that every facility manager can leverage on. It is basically a systematic evaluation of opportunities to optimize energy-using systems and thus improve the overall performance of the building. Instead of refurbishing the entire building, cost-effective retro commissioning can come to your rescue. There are basically four phases of this process with the last one actually pinpointing the exact problems and recommending the next steps. Oftentimes, it is never too costly to improve the current systems than installing them from scratch.

Unlike other commissioning agents, we do not inflate our retro commissioning prices. Our main aim is to provide unmatched services at affordable costs and we have achieved that already for other clients.

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Typical Problems Solved Through Retro Commissioning


Retro commissioning focuses on certain problems embodied in its scope. Predominantly, this process focuses more on operations and controls of your building systems. About 12% of its scope is devoted to the design, installation, retrofit, and replacement while about 16% is on maintenance on how to improve without incurring enormous costs.

Below is a highlight of the problems that are addressed by New York Engineers retro commissioning:

  • Building systems that heat or cool concurrently
  • Malfunctioning equipment or lighting
  • Malfunctioning valves and belts
  • Malfunctioning thermostats that got out of calibration
  • Ineffective sensors
  • Malfunctioning control sequences
  • High maintenance and operating costs
  • High energy consumption
  • Inefficient adjustable speed drives
  • Missing or malfunctioning energy management systems
  • Circumvented or incorrectly set time clocks


The list above is not all-inclusive. We can unfold many deficiencies with retro commissioning. Some of these problems are attributed to a degradation of the systems while others attributed to faults in the construction phase hence we always recommend considering building commissioning from the design phase.

However, having commissioned the building before does not exempt it from retro commissioning. The building’s lifecycle changes as time goes on and new systems and equipment may be needed. Also, a commercial building may have changed the way it operates from the design intent. That signals a change in systems, thus calling for retro commissioning to optimize the new systems to be in synchronization. Our engineers are unmatched in this task.

Benefits of Retro Commissioning

What really are the benefits of this process? Why should a building commissioned 20 years ago still consider this process? Is it really mandatory?

Let us help you realize the full benefits of retro commissioning in your existing buildings. This is a comprehensive quality-assurance process carried out in the entire building to analyze and assess building systems.

The owner may realize significantly reduced maintenance costs, improved indoor air quality, improved workers’ productivity due to comfortable indoors, and improved equipment lifetime and many more. All thanks to retro commissioning.

Old equipment and energy-using systems will perform to their peak efficiency once again after this process, and owners will appreciate massively reduced operating costs and energy savings. There will no more be complaints from your tenants especially during winter about poor heating systems or non-working water boilers. We do a thorough assessment and compile reports about all the systems in your building, regardless of the building type.

The savings due to commissioning vary from one building, size and location to the other. Typically, cost savings range from $0.13 to $0.72 per square foot as revealed by studies by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. New York Engineers can help you realize great savings through this process.

One exciting thing about retro commissioning is that companies, even those operating with a tight budget, can manage it because it is an inexpensive process of rejuvenating buildings and their associated systems. You can save from 5% to 20% of energy consumption. The points below highlight the key benefits of this quality assurance process:

  • Revive equipment or systems : if you have purchased equipment a long time ago, chances are they have degraded in performance and thus costing you lots of money now to operate. Retro commissioning can help revive them. We can recommend better solutions to the equipment or systems.
  • Cost savings : from the early stages of occupancy, operating costs gradually increase. In old buildings operating costs tend to be enormous due to many systems no longer operating at their peak and more energy being consumed.
  • Fewer tenant complaints : if you are renting a property to tenants, they are more likely to complain when the conditions deteriorate. Retro commissioning can prevent such predictable inconveniences by fine-tuning the systems beforehand.

How Is Retro Commissioning Done?

You may be wondering what is our plan or procedure of conducting retro commissioning. Well, the process seems so easy for our professional engineers and can be completed quicker than our competitors would.

There are basically four steps followed to complete retro commissioning:

Step 1 : this is the planning step. We outline the objectives of what we are going to do and also document the operating requirements per the design intent. We assess and examine your building guided by Owners Project Requirements.

Step 2 : this is the investigation step. During this step, New York Engineers will test the building systems to gauge their performance. It is basically the diagnostic monitoring phase. We then note down our findings and then do the necessary corrections. We identify operational improvements which we can prioritize.

Step 3 : this is the implementation step. The findings we found under step 2 will guide us on what to implement to correct the deficiencies. We then verify the results.

Step 4 : this is the handover step. We document all the procedures recommendations and strategies and then hand over the final report to the owner.

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Measuring Success Of Retro Commissioning


How are you certain that retro commissioning has made a significant impact on your buildings and the systems? We will be transparent from the above-mentioned phases of retro commissioning to the measures of success. Our engineers know how to document the measures of success.

Our first visit will be to assess and examine your building, note down the performance of your systems and equipment before we carry out the process. We conduct a utility analysis and use it as a benchmark. Utility bills before and after can help identify the measure of success in this process.

The other option is to compare your building with similar buildings in your surroundings. Since kilowatt-hours per square foot or BTUs per square foot are used to measure energy consumption, it becomes easy to compare with other buildings. This will account for various factors such as climate change.

Our professional engineers are well rounded with an assortment of ways to gauge success in buildings after retro commissioning. We can also use the Energy Star Label as a benchmarking tool. It also compares the assessed buildings with others by using a scale of 1 to 100 which higher scores indicating more efficiency.  

Retro Commissioning and Building Commissioning

Which one should you opt for? Is the other more advantageous than the other? These are assortments of building commissioning but apply at different levels of your building.

New York Engineers is armed with professional engineers to provide all types of building commissioning. When new buildings are planned, we are available to carry out building commissioning from the pre-design phase through to occupancy and a few months of operations. Our ultimate goal with this interactive and intensive process is to ensure that the design intent is being implemented for the owner.

All systems have to be designed, installed and tested to ensure that they work according to the owner’s project requirements. Such early intervention ensures that there are no deficiencies left unattended by the construction team that could have repercussions or leads to retro commissioning on the basis of the poor performance of the building and its systems.

Regarding retro commissioning, we retro commission existing buildings that have not been commissioned or that have been commissioned many years ago. We’ve highlighted that buildings, equipment, and systems degrade over time and this triggers the need for commissioning to rejuvenate them. In the buildings that have been commissioned before, this process will seem like a re-commissioning or ongoing commissioning.


Is Retro Commissioning Mandatory?

In some states, building commissioning is mandatory under certain circumstances, but generally, the process is recommended. Retro commissioning, too, is recommended. Owners stand to benefit a lot from this process hence it is recommended.

However, for owners that seek building performance rating system such as LEED, building commissioning is a requirement. We therefore urge owners to consider this process if they want to be certified.

Commercial buildings should not compromise retro commissioning as it holds plenty of benefits for their productivity.

Choosing The Best Commissioning Agent

Many companies can elaborate on how good they are in retro commissioning but only a few can actually act to their hype. Owners should be vigilant when choosing the best commissioning agent for this process. Any compromise in that effort may yield unsatisfactory results.

Building systems can be complex and complicated to decipher and thus you need a professional engineer with expertise and experience to assess and correct if there are deficiencies. An amateur will struggle with the process.


Why Choose NY Engineers?

New York Engineers is a pioneer of building commissioning for all types of engineering projects. We have been in the industry for a quite a long time serving building owners in Chicago, New York and other areas abroad. Our professional engineers are well-rounded with the complexities and requirements of retro commissioning.

Retro commissioning involves various stakeholders to achieve. We are a hub of architects and MEP engineers. We work well with other professionals in a quest to undertake an unparalleled commissioning project.

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