System Commissioning Requirements

What is commissioning?
Commissioning is a requirement of the New York City Energy Conservation Code where a qualified professional ensures the performance of the installed systems within a building meet what is specified on the construction documents and the energy code.

When is commissioning required?
As stated on the NYC TR-8 (Technical Report Statement of Responsibility for Energy Code Progress Inspections) form, “Commissioning is required for applications where C408 or ASHRAE 90.1 Section requires commissioning.”

Section C408 of the 2016 New York City Energy Conservation Code (NYCECC) stated that commissioning is required unless the cooling, heating and service hot water heating systems are below the following thresholds.

  • Mechanical and service hot water systems in buildings where the total mechanical equipment capacity being installed is less than 480,000 Btuh/h cooling capacity and 600,000 Btu/h combined service water-heating and space-heating capacity.

Additionally, renewable energy systems being installed with a generating capacity of less than 25kW are exempt from commissioning.

What systems need to be commissioned?
As per the 2016 NYCECC, mechanical systems, renewable energy and service water heating systems shall include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Heating, cooling, air handling and distribution, ventilation, and exhaust systems, and their related air quality monitoring systems.
  2. Air, water, and other energy recovery systems.
  3. Manual or automatic controls, whether local or remote, on energy using systems including but not limited to temperature controls, setback sequences, and occupancy based control, including energy management functions of the building management system.
  4. Plumbing, including insulation of piping and associated valves, domestic and process water pumping, and mixing systems.
  5. Mechanical heating systems and service water heating systems.
  6. Refrigeration systems.
  7. Renewable energy and energy storage systems.
  8. Other systems, equipment and components that are used for heating, cooling or ventilation and that affect energy use.

Who creates the commissioning plan?
A commissioning plan needs to be developed by the design applicant or an approved commissioning agent, and shall include the following items.

  1. A narrative description of the activities that will be accomplished during each phase of commissioning, including the personnel intended to accomplish each of the activities.
  2. A listing of the specific equipment, appliances or systems to be tested, their full sequences of operation, and a description of the tests to be performed, including prerequisite activities and reference to specific checklists or worksheets which are necessary or required by the department.
  3. Functions to be tested including, but not limited to, calibrations and economizer controls.
  4. Conditions under which the test will be performed. Testing shall affirm winter and summer design conditions and full outside air conditions.
  5. Measurable criteria for performance.

Once construction is complete and preliminary commissioning is conducted, the approved agency must prepare a preliminary commissioning report, for submission to the building owner.  This report must identify and deficiencies that have yet to be corrected, and any tests that have been postponed due to specific weather constraints.

A final report must be submitted according to the following deadlines:

  • Buildings below 500,000 gross square feet and all R-2 occupancies – 18 Months after the certificate of occupancy is issued.
  • Buildings of at least 500,000 gross square feet – 30 Months after the certificate of occupancy is issued.