What is retro-commissioning?

Retro-commissioning is the process of re-applying quality assurance and system maintenance measures to existing installations to optimize energy savings and system performance. 

Lighting systems are typically reliable, but they are sensitive to user error. Often, users disable lighting and controls, whether purposefully or inadvertently, if they attempt to adjust the lighting levels or system behavior. That can cause problems throughout the entire system, reducing energy savings and damaging performance. 

While commissioning is required during the installation of a new networked controls system, retro-commissioning is the process of evaluating how the existing system is operating post installation—and eliminating systemic, repeated failure of the devices.

Retro-commissioning typically involves four key steps: 

1. Determining goals and examining the current system to optimize programming.

2. Functional testing of existing lighting system.

3. Identifying system deficiencies.

4. Adjusting devices as needed to optimize system and save energy and costs.

The Lighting Controls Association studied the most common deficiencies found after a functional testing audit (see chart below). As you can see, there are many opportunities for efficiency improvement in both existing and new buildings. 

Retro-commissioning is an easy way to fine-tune your lighting system and ensure it is being used in the most energy-efficient way possible, all without replacing your costly lighting system. Because lighting can impact everything from worker productivity to consumer experience, retro-commissioning is a solid choice for businesses that want to ensure they are optimizing their existing assets.