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Building Performance
Building Science

Proper Commissioning (Cx) for all Building Types & Technologies

Khaled Yousef • Last updated 04/2022

Course description

Who is this course for?

Design Engineers, Technicians, Facilities Managers, Construction Contractors, Consultants, Construction Managers, Project Managers, Architects, Specialty MEP Equipment Vendors; in addition to other professionals like Scientists, R&D researchers supporting testing and demonstration projects, and energy and climate policy makers, who all are interested in seriously enhancing their knowledge and exposure to a broad spectrum of commissioning procedures supporting a wide range of residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities and master energy and environmental plans in need of a wide range of commissioning types to achieve desired goals.

This course starts by presenting an overview of the proper commissioning (Cx) process starting with what is Cx? Presents the most known six (6) types of Cx: (1) Total Cx, (2) Continuous Cx, (3) Ongoing Cx, (4) Re-Cx, (5) Retro-Cx, & (6) Cx Light or Custom Cx). Presents the 4 proper phases of the Total Cx process. How to plan for Cx. The Cx team’s composition and their Roles & Responsibilities. Intro to the required checklists, forms and tests to conduct Cx. How to plan for & generate beneficial Cx report for existing and new buildings and systems targeting high performance.

This detailed course vastly expands and builds on the presenter’s earlier “Introduction to the Fundamentals of the Proper Commissioning (Cx) Process”. In conclusion, diverse audience will acquire multiple skills that will support them in their daily jobs with Cx of other MEP/HVAC systems and sustainable technologies, besides the technology specific biomass heating system examples that are sometimes used in this training for in-depth illustration. It will be a very busy 1-day workshop and detailed course multiple benefits and learning objectives are shown below.

Topics Covered / Learning Objectives & Valuable Takeaways:

  1. Understand the well-integrated and holistic project development and Commissioning (Cx) approaches to support successful HVAC, MEP and building/process automation systems (EMS/BMS/SCADA) installations covering a wide variety of conventional, progressive and renewable heating and cooling systems and technologies in varying building types and sizes covering residential, commercial, institutional, industrial facilities (& even laboratories & mission critical facilities!). Emphasizes that Cx is part of successful IDP (Integrated Design Process).

  2. Be aware of the numerous Commissioning (Cx) procedures and requirements based on major Cx references including but not limited to: U.S. DOE (Model Cx Plan - Construction Phase Cx Plan); US DOE funded BCxA (Building Commissioning Association); ACG (AABC Cx Group); Well-known and widely accepted ASHRAE Guideline 0 (The Cx Process) & ASHRAE Guideline 1 (The HVAC Cx Process); Numerous respected other resources; All coupled and illustrated by the trainer’s own in-depth expertise and experience in the field over 3 decades, domestically in the U.S. as well as internationally, supported by real life examples, some were quite painful and expensive.

  3. Make a differentiation between existing and new building Cx needs; Provide an overview of suggested additional sensors to “incorporate” during the design and construction phases to support a new building Total Cx process, then Ongoing Cx moving forward, utilizing valuable built-in and well-thought of sensors for both monitoring based commissioning (MBCx) & M&V (if needed). Identify key systems within a facility that are better candidates or higher priorities for commissioning compared to other systems as sorted by their energy use, demand intensities, safety, and critical to facility operation in terms of occupant comfort, productivity, customer revenues, IEQ and safety.

  4. Be aware of a few of the known barriers impeding implementation of the proper Cx process in numerous projects and know how to avoid them through good customer and project team education. Be aware of the proper Cx process from A to Z and see what happens when the proper process was not followed based on multiple real life examples. Some lessons were real painful and expensive! Over 20 lessons learned categories are presented (caused by lack of Cx in several example projects).

  5. Both PFCs (Prefunctional Checklists) and FPTs (Functional Performance Tests) are exemplified by a technology specific sustainable system scenario, but can also be modified to cover several known HVAC/MEP and other progressive systems. Relevant Cx procedure details covered. Site Visit of commissioned systems (virtual slide show) enhances attendees’ understanding of all of the above.

  6. Course elaborates and emphasizes the importance of Cx and illustrates the devastating impacts of lack of Cx by sharing details of numerous lessons learned from biomass heating system commercial installations pertaining to several High-Efficiency and Low-Emission Biomass Heating projects (as a Technology Specific Example). Course covers varying sizes and a wide range of installations, systems and layouts; illustrated/exemplified by several piping schematics and PIDs (Piping and Instrumentation diagram).

  7. Presents how following the core 4-Phase Total Cx process would have prevented numerous problems identified during system troubleshooting ([1] Cx During Pre-Design Phase; [2] Cx During Design Phase; [3] Cx During Construction; [4] Cx During Occupancy & Operations). All presentations coupled by valuable and in-depth Cx PFC & FPT technology specific examples and shares other relevant Cx procedures and details.

  8. Detailed topics presented include, but are not limited to: System component sizing. Controls & systems’ controls integration between existing oil/propane boiler plants and the new biomass heating boiler plants. Testing, Adjusting and Balancing (TAB), & Commissioning (Cx). Thermal Energy Storage (TES) & several hydronic topics. Boiler venting. Mechanical room layouts. Differences between stick-built vs. containerized boiler plant options. Project management (PM) & Construction management (CM). Project roles and responsibilities (R&R) from A to Z.

  9. Promotes well-integrated and holistic project development approaches to support successful biomass heating system installations. Shares valuable conclusions, recommendations, suggested next steps, and take home messages.

  10. Finally and most importantly, diverse audience will acquire multiple skills that will support them in their daily jobs with Cx of other MEP/HVAC systems and sustainable technologies, besides the technology specific biomass heating system examples that are sometimes used in this training for in-depth illustration.

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Full course outline

Welcome - Orientation Materials

This course is self-paced, so you don’t need to be logged in at any specific time. You can get started immediately after you enroll and the course materials will remain in your account with minimum guaranteed access for 12 months (1 year) after enrollment.

  • Set up email notifications and your student profile
  • Introduce yourself on the discussion board
  • Optional - Download the 404 Presentation Slides (PDF) (.pdf)
Module 1 - Background, Introductions, Definitions, Scoping, and Team

  • Background, Introductions, Overview of Topics Covered, Learning Objectives, Valuable Takeaways (17:12 minutes)
  • Important Commissioning (Cx) Related Definitions, Sources & Resources (06:14 minutes)
  • Why Commissioning? (06:39 minutes)
  • How much does Commissioning Cost? & How much does Commissioning Save? (09:29 minutes)
  • Commissioning Process & Key Cx Component Definitions (04:55 minutes)
  • What happens when well-integrated and holistic project development approaches were not followed and there was NO commissioning? (14:33 minutes)
  • Make a clear distinction between the most thorough & Comprehensive 4-Phase Total Building Commissioning Process (TBCxP) vs. the “other” varying types & phases of Cx (07:10 minutes)
  • Commissioning Team Members & Determination of their Roles & Responsibilities (04:29 minutes)
  • The Commissioning Scoping Meeting (04:53 minutes)
Module 2 - Prefunctional Checklists, Functional Performance Testing, Process, Flow Charts, Management Protocols

  • Prefunctional Checklists (PFCs) (05:01 minutes)
  • Functional Performance Testing (FPTs) (05:07 minutes)
  • Issues & Resolutions Log (or Deficiencies Log) (07:37 minutes)
  • Cx Schedule & Typical/General Scheduling Issues & Warnings (01:44 minutes)
  • Overview of the Construction Phase Commissioning Process (11:23 minutes) Preview
  • Key Cx Process Flow Charts (& in-depth discussion of each of the 7 flow charts) (24:09 minutes)
  • Suggested Commissioning Plan Detailed Outline (04:11 minutes)
  • Suggested Commissioning Report Outline (07:05 minutes)
  • Suggested Commissioning Management Protocols (05:15 minutes)
  • Suggested Cx Written Work Products (02:15 minutes)
  • Suggested Project Close-out Documents (49 seconds)
  • Suggested Project Close-out Cx Documents (01:08 minutes)
Module 3 - Formal Beginning of the In-Depth Stage of the Course, including Case Study of a Biomass Boiler Heating System Commissioning Model

  • Introduction to RHNY and a brief overview of biomass heating systems and best practices as a refresher over the next few slides (10:51 minutes)
  • Major Emission Control Options with biomass systems & Outside Pellet Storage (03:19 minutes)
  • Key Design Slides: (1) Pellet Boiler Sizing at < 60% of Bldg. Peak Heat Load for Large Commercial Systems, (2) Buffering / Thermal Energy Storage, (3) System and Controls Integration, (4) Allowable vs. Non-Allowable Project Costs (08:55 minutes)
  • Why use Biomass Fuels? (50 seconds)
  • Brief Boiler Sizing Examples - Alternative methods (05:45 minutes)
  • Introduction to Advanced (Modern) Biomass Boiler Heating Systems and illustrations of major Components (24:58 minutes)
Module 4 - Detailed Slides and Pictorial Examples in support of forthcoming In-depth PFCs, FPTs, & Lessons Learned

  • Detailed Slides and Pictorial Examples in support of forthcoming In-depth PFCs, FPTs, & Lessons Learned (28:47 minutes)
Module 5 - Detailed Review and Hands-on Examples of Prefunctional Checklists

  • Detailed Review and Hands-on Examples of Prefunctional Checklists (PFCs) (07:02 minutes) Preview
  • More Prefunctional Checklist (PFC) Examples (40:28 minutes)
Module 6 - Detailed Review and Hands-on Examples of Functional Performance Testing

  • Detailed Review and Hands-on Examples of Functional Performance Testing (FPTs) (08:17 minutes)
  • Sample of Detailed Functional Performance Tests (58:56 minutes)
Module 7 - Continued the In-depth Review of the Issues Summary & Highlights of Major Findings under 3 Main Categories

  • In-depth Review of the Issues Summary & Highlights of Major Findings (02:22 minutes)
  • TES Evolution (Original 4-Pipe Configuration vs. Modern 2-Pipe Configuration) (01:14 minutes)
  • Continued the In-depth Review of the Issues Summary & Highlights of Major Findings (04:02 minutes)
Module 8 - Take Home Messages & Next Steps

  • Take Home Messages & Next Steps starting (1) by covering All Technologies (3 slides). then (2) Optional Technology Specific Examples from District & Biomass Heating Systems (8 slides) (14:39 minutes)
  • Questions & Answers (21:04 minutes)
  • ASHRAE's role is Cx, Glossary of Terms, Credits (01:09 minutes)
  • Final Q&A - Concluding Messages (54 seconds)
Conclusion - Feedback and Additional Resources

This is our last module but you still have access to the all of course materials for 12 months (1 year), so keep working and you'll be able to complete the course at your own pace. After your year of access expires you can optionally extend access with a HeatSpring Membership. Enjoy the course and keep in touch!

  • 1 Year of Access to Course Materials
  • Feedback: 2-minute Exit Survey
  • Consider Joining as a HeatSpring Member
  • Certificate of Completion: Request a Certificate


Khaled Yousef

P.E., CEM, CDSM, LEED AP, GBE, Pyramid Energy Engineering Services, PLLC (Pyramid EES)

Mr. Yousef has over twenty five years of comprehensive building heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) & energy systems experience. He supports customers in the areas of energy savings performance contracts, energy audits, peak load reduction, building optimization, Measurement and Verification (M&V), commissioning (Cx), system inspections, end-use data... Learn more


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Frequently asked questions

How does this course work?

You can begin this online course instantly upon enrollment. This 8 module course is delivered entirely online. This course is self-paced and you can set your own schedule to complete the materials. You can begin the lecture videos and other course materials as soon as you enroll. During your year of access the instructor will be in the course answering questions on the discussion board. After successfully completing the course, you will be able to generate a certificate of completion.

How long do I have access to the materials?

Students get unlimited access to the course materials as soon as they enroll and for one year (365 days) after enrollment. Rewatch videos and review assignments as many times as you want. View updates the instructor makes to the course as the industry advances. Return to your course anytime with online access from anywhere in the world. After the one year of access expires, access can be extended by joining as a HeatSpring member. A single membership extends access to course materials for all past enrollments.

Is there a certificate of completion?

Yes, when you complete this course you are eligible for a certificate of completion from HeatSpring. You can download your certificate as soon as you have completed all of the course requirements. Students can easily share their verified certificates on their LinkedIn profiles using our LinkedIn integration.

Can I register multiple people?

Yes please visit our HeatSpring for Groups page to get a group discount.

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