Making Buildings Work Better

History of Commissioning

The Total Building Commissioning industry is relatively new and growing up as we speak.  It has been fun to be involved in the process and rub shoulders with many of the industry pioneers and experts.  A couple of years ago at a NCBC conference a “History of Commissioning” was presented as a display.  It was fascinating to see the information gathered together in one place.  PECI has posted this information on their website and kept it updated.

You never know if a website link will go bad someday so I will copy the information below (giving full credit to PECI).  I will also add a couple of things to the list which I have put in bold and italics.

I hope you enjoy looking back at and seeing just how far the commissioning industry has come.


  • Public Works Canada begins to use Cx in its project delivery system


  • Disney includes Cx in the design, construction and start-up of Expo Center


  • University of Wisconsin, Madison begins to offer Cx courses
  • ASHRAE HVAC Commissioning Guideline Committee formed


  • Texas LoanStar Program applies monitoring and existing building Cx
  • ASHRAE publishes HVAC Commissioning Guideline


  • ASHRAE national convention includes Cx presentation
  • Montgomery County, Maryland institutes Cx program
  • University of Michigan establishes facilities evaluation and Cx group
  • First edition of BPA ‘s Building Commissioning Guidelines published


  • Electric utilies begin to require Cx on energy installations
  • BPA tests Commissioning Guideline on Energy Edge building in Portland, OR


  • BPA publishes Building Commissioning Guidelines, Second Edition
  • BPA and PECI convene Cx Roundtables
  • U.S. GSA develops HVAC Functional Inspection & Testing Guide


  • Pacific Energy Center offers its first course on Cx
  • NEBB develops Cx provider certification program
  • National Grid (formerly NEES) offers a Cx guide to commercial customers
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers develops Cx guide specification
  • University of Washington begins to require Cx and develops Cx guide specification
  • 1st NCBC hosted by SMUD


  • LADWP launches Cx program
  • Public Works Canada publishes Project Commissioning Manual
  • Executive Order 12902 requires a Cx program for federal agencies
  • Florida Design Initiative introduces eDesign Online to compliment Florida Department of Management Services Cx program
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers develops HVAC Commissioning Procedures
  • ASHRAE Cx series offered via Professional Development Seminars
  • ACEEE Summer Study devotes a full panel of presentations to Cx and O&M
  • LBNL focus on building performance assurance through metrics, Cx and operations
  • SMUD offers incentives to owners who develop Cx plans
  • SCE initiates the Cx Research Study Demonstration
  • 2nd NCBC: Hosted by Florida Design Initiative


  • ENERGY STAR® Building Partnership Program includes Cx
  • AIA magazine, Architectural Record publishes article on Cx
  • U.S. EPA & DOE conduct Cx demonstrations of five existing buildings
  • U.S. GSA publishes Building Commissioning Guide, Version 1
  • U.S. GSA & Facility Operations Divisions initiates Cx program
  • Detroit Edison one-day Cx conference draws more than 300 attendees
  • NW Commissioning Collaborative sponsors regional conference
  • State of Washington requires Cx
  • APPA publishes Cx manual and provides training
  • 3rd NCBC: Hosted by Energy Center of Wisconsin


  • ASHRAE publishes Guideline 1-1996: The HVAC Commissioning Process
  • U.S. GSA & FEMP fund development of Model Commissioning Guideline and SPECIfication
  • EPRI conducts market study of firms providing Cx services
  • International Measurement & Verification Protocols recommends Cx in all projects (NREL)
  • U.S. DOE /FEMP conducts Cx workshop for federal agency project managers
  • NW Commissioning Collaborative holds 2nd conference and publishes provider directory
  • U.S. GSA & FEMP conduct existing building demonstration in Seattle, WA
  • State of Tennessee begins existing building Cx program for state buildings
  • 4th NCBC: Hosted by Florida Design Initiative


  • U.S. DOE /FEMP publishes Model Commissioning Plan and Guide SPECIfications
  • Sprint commissions World Headquarters in Kansas
  • Sandia National Laboratories issues Cx specification
  • E Source Tech updates Commissioning Existing Buildings
  • Cx articles begin to be published in trade press on a regular basis
  • NEEA conducts Commissioning Baseline and Market Research Study
  • Oregon Office of Energy’s Commissioning Toolkit becomes available online
  • Federal RCx demonstration projects are conducted in the Northwest
  • AIA sponsors Cx workshop at Client Connection Conference
  • 5th NCBC: Hosted by Southern California Edison


  • U.S. DOE Sponsors National Strategy for Building Commissioning
  • BCA incorporated as a not-for-profit trade association
  • USGBC LEED® criteria includes Cx
  • Energy Star® Benchmarking Tool and Building Label create new opportunties for Cx
  • Washington State Board of Education recommends matching funds for Cx of K-12 schools
  • U.S. DOE /FEMP proposes Cx to be art of federal building renovations
  • U.S. GSA announces Comprehensive Building Commissioning Program
  • U.S. DOE Rebuild America publishes Cx guide
  • MasterSpec begins to integrate Cx specifications
  • NEEA funds Commissioning Public buildings Program
  • Cx workshop at AIA National Convention
  • Seattle Energy Code incorporates Cx for HVAC and lighting controls
  • ACEEE/CEE conduct existing building Cx workshop
  • NIBS conducts workshop on whole building Cx
  • U.S. GSA Building Commissioning Guide becomes Interagency Guide for Federal Buildings
  • Cx session at ASHRAE Winter Meeting draws more than 300 attendees
  • Portland General Electric offers Retrofit Commissioning Program
  • Public Works Canada revies and expands its Project Commissioning Manual to define basic and enhanced Cx for various projects types
  • U.S. DOE produces a film on Cx with Sandia National Labs and holds a simulcast workshop for DOE sites
  • 6th NCBC: Hosted by Florida Design Initiative


  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory publishes Practical Guide for Commissioning Existing Buildings
  • State of Tennessee begins New Construction Commissioning Initiative
  • U.S. GSA conducts a Cx demonstration at its Advanced Workplace Lab
  • LBNL hosts diagnostician workshop
  • SMUD offers RCx program
  • ASERTTI Cx training curriculum is used in seven state workshops
  • State of Washington adopts Seattle Cx code requirements
  • ComEd launches Maintenance Operations and Repairs Program (MORES) which includes RCx, and begins offering Cx as one of its Advisory Services
  • 1st Annual Benner Award presented to Charles Dorgan
  • 7th NCBC: Hosted by Portland General Electric


  • PG&E publishes California Commissioning Market Characterizations Study
  • CCC established as an ad-hoc group to promote Cx in California
  • PIER High Performance Commercial Building Systems Program includes integrated Cx diagnostics
  • PG&E begins to incorporate Cx into Savings by Design Program
  • NYSERDA funds Cx market transformation program
  • ARTI launches research into automated Cx activities
  • PG&E pilots program for energy efficiency upgrades and RCx of long-term care facilities
  • BCA develops technical training
  • ASERTTI develops techinical training
  • GPU Energy holds Cx workshops
  • Xcel Energy launches recommissioning program for customers in Colorado and Minnesota
  • 2nd Annual Benner Award presented to Carl N. Lawson
  • 8th NCBC: Hosted by Sprint World Headquarters Cx Team


  • CERL produces Commissionpedia CD-ROM
  • Massachusetts code incorporates aspects of Cx
  • First International Conference on Enhanced Building Operation held in Austin, TX
  • CEC considers incorporating performance verification into California Energy Code
  • USGBC begins work on Existing Building Guideline to include Cx
  • SDG&E funds RCx pilot study
  • PIER project investigates persistence of Cx
  • Systems commissioning is included in Washington State Energy Code
  • State of Hawaii Energy Code includes requriements for systems commissioning
  • 3rd Annual Benner Award presented to Karl Stum
  • 9th NCBC: Hosted by GPU Energy


  • PIER Program funds development of Functional Testing Guide
  • AABC publishes the AABC Commissioning Guideline
  • Energy Design Resources publishes online energy design tools and resources
  • AABC launches Cx certification program
  • NYSERDA publishes Cx guideline
  • FEMP publishes Continuous Commissioning Guidebook for Federal Managers
  • 4th Annual Benner Awards presented to Rick Casault and Emory University
  • 10th NCBC: Hosted by ComEd


  • SDG&E offers RCx program
  • PG&E publishes Commissioning Test Protocol Library
  • CCC develops online library of Cx-related reasearch, articles, brochures and white papers
  • 5th Annual Benner Award presented to ASHRAE
  • 11th NCBC: Hosted by Southern California Edison


  • CCC incorporates as a non-profit organization
  • MBCx Program launchd by UC/CSU/IOU Partnership
  • California Governor’s Executive Order S-20-04 includes Cx
  • BCA launches certification program
  • LBNL releases The Cost-Effectiveness of Commissioning, a national study of commissioning costs and benefits
  • USGBC introduces LEED®-EB and includes a prerequisite for retrocommissioning
  • 6th Annual Benner Award presented to Chad Dorgan
  • 12th NCBC: Hosted by Emory University


  • California’s Energy Efficiency Standards include acceptance testing requirements for non-residential new construction
  • ASHRAE publishes Guideline 0-2005: The Commissioning Process
  • AABC Commissioning Group (ACG) holds 1st Annual Meeting
  • ASHRAE begins development of Guideline 1.2: The Commissioning Process for Existing HVAC&R Systems
  • Connecticut Light and Power Company initiates RCx pilot program
  • NEMI publishes a national study of market potential for new building commissioning
  • 7th Annual Benner Award presented to Paul Tseng and NYSERDA
  • 13th NCBC: Hosted by NYSERDA


  • California utilities roll out large-scale RCx programs
  • CCC publishes Commissioning Guides for New and Existing Buildings
  • California DGS publishes In-House Commissioning Toolkit for Small Buildings
  • PIER publishes Specifications Guide for Performance Monitoring Systems
  • PIER publishes online Functional Testing and Design Guides
  • ASHRAE announces plans for a certification program for Cx and integrated building design
  • ASHRAE Sustainability Roadmap sets organization-wide agenda to lead the advancement of sustainable building design and operations
  • 8th Annual Benner Awards presented to Mary Ann Piette and USGBC‘s LEED® Green Building Rating System™
  • 14th NCBC: Hosted by Pacific Gas & Electric Company


  • North Carolina includes commissioning in a bill to increase energy efficiency in state buildings
  • Massachusetts’ LEED® -based energy efficiency standards for state buildings require third-party commissioning for prejects greater than 20,000 square feet
  • CCC publishes RCx Toolkit—Templates and Sample Documents
  • PECI develops A Retrocommissioning Guide for Owners with funding from the EPA ENERGY STAR® Program
  • BCA membership increases more than 30% over 2006 membership
  • 9th Annual Benner Awards presented to Dan Turner and BCA
  • 15th NCBC: Hosted by ComEd and Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation


  • CCC expands RCx Toolkit— Spreadsheet Tools
  • USGBC restructures LEED®-EB as LEED® for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, allowing up to 4-points for RCx and 2-points for ongoing commissioning
  • ComEd launches large-scale commercial building RCx and retrofit initiative
  • 10th Annual Benner Awards presented to Michael English and CCC
  • 16th NCBC: Hosted by Southern California Edison
  • BCA publishes “Best Practices in Existing Building Commissioning”


  • 11th Annual Benner Awards presented to Don Frey and CCC
  • 17th NCBC: Hosted by BetterBricks
  • USGBC publishes new LEED 2009 commissioning guidelines and Credential Maintenance for LEED APs
  • State of Utah DFCM mandates all new buildings be built to LEED Silver and with the Enhanced Commissioning credits and Building Envelope commissioning as mandatory.


  • 18th NCBC: Hosted by ComEd

What does the future hold from here?

  • BCA is scheduled to publish “Best Practices in Commissioning for New Construction”
  • ASHRAE forms committee to write standard for a systems manual


  • What will you be doing for the commissioning industry?

Todd Rindlisbaker, P.E., QCxP, LEED AP, HBDP, CCP, has been in the HVAC/plumbing design and commissioning business since 1993. He has extensive experience in project management, HVAC design, and energy studies and specializes in hydronic heating and cooling systems, controls optimization for comfort and energy efficiency and in commissioning. He has been involved in the design, installation, and commissioning of mechanical, plumbing, and building management systems throughout the United States and internationally.  Todd also serves on the BCA committee for the “Best Practices in Commissioning for New Construction”

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About TBC

As a leader in the building commissioning industry, Total Building Commissioning (TBC) is a facility consulting firm that specializes in the commissioning of mechanical, electrical, controls and all other major building systems as well as LEED™ certification consulting.

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