Energy Codes and Commissioning Requirements

Since 2010, the International Energy Code (IECC) started including some level of commissioning requirements as part of code updates. These early requirements have evolved into more specifics providing clarity on scope, systems, and required documentation. Building codes are not created equal and each municipality and state adopts their own codes and some may be more up-to-date compared to others. It’s also worth mentioning that organizations such as the Building Commissioning Association (BCxA) and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) develop their own best practices and standards.  Keep in mind that the energy code is written around minimum requirements and these other organizations are worth referencing further when developing your scope of work or RFP language.

Here are some areas that require further research when looking into which version of the energy code you are required to follow and how to properly apply it to your project.

Commissioned Systems:
The commissioned systems vary depending on the year of the code that is adopted. Using the 2018 IECC as a reference, the following systems are required to be commissioned in accordance with section C408:

  • Lighting controls
  • HVAC
  • Domestic Hot Water
  • Building controls

Commissioning Tasks:
Commissioning tasks should be outlined in the project specifications and detailed within the commissioning provider’s scope. It’s important that key deliverables such as the commissioning specification, commissioning plan, and final report are prepared and submitted to the code official to not delay project permits or certificates of occupancy. Below are some key commissioning tasks that are required as part of the 2018 IECC:

  • Commissioning Specifications
  • Commissioning Plan
  • Functional Testing
  • TAB Review
  • Final Report
  • Systems Manual
  • O&M Plan

Required Documentation:
At minimum, the commissioning plan and final commissioning report should be prepared to be submitted to the code official as part of the project acceptance, and all commissioning results should be ready to share with the code official upon request. In some jurisdictions, our team has experienced project teams being subject to permit delays due to a lack of a commissioning plan or identified qualified commissioning provider to begin the project.

The next question project teams ask is, “Now that I know I need to do commissioning, who should I hire and who is preferred to do commissioning on my project?” In our next blog, we will address what to look for in a commissioning provider.

Michael Fagan

Kenny Reed, Director of Commissioning

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