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Articles by Rebecca Thatcher Ellis, P.E.

Commissioning: Design Delays

January 1, 2008
A late-project logjam on the consulting firm’s side isn’t fun for anyone. Here’s how to avoid it.

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Commissioning: LEED® EB Streamlines for 2008

December 1, 2007
The goal: motivating owners while maintaining procedures.

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Commissioning: Forwarding The Retro Process

November 1, 2007
Further benefits await beyond the equipment.

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Commissioning: Stop, Look & Listen

October 1, 2007
Over the last couple months, this column has been about retrocommissioning, commissioning existing building systems that have never been commis-sioned before. There is no question that there is great potential to be realized through a retrocommissioning process, primarily in terms of improved system performance and decreased energy consumption. However, successful retrocommissioning is not something can be accomplished in a vacuum by a commissioning professional; it depends heavily on the building’s O&M staff.

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Commissioning: How Much Of A Good Thing?

September 1, 2007
Deciding to retrocommission is just the first step.

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Commissioning: When to Retrocommission?

August 1, 2007
From additions to age, different factors make the argument for or against.

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Commissioning: Core & Shell and Tenant Fit-Out Projects, Part 3

July 1, 2007
A good manual is almost as important as whether the right people read it.
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Commissioning: Core and Shell and Tenant Fit-Out Projects, Part 2

June 1, 2007
Last month, this column addressed special considerations for developing the owner’s project requirements/DID for projects that are designed and constructed as a core and shell (C&S) by the developer with customized tenant fit-out (TFO) of occupied spaces as they are leased. Documenting the owner’s project requirements/design intent is valuable for any project and is imperative for commissioned projects.
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Commissioning: Core & Shell -- and Tenant Fit-Out Projects

May 2, 2007
It is exciting to see that the benefits of commissioning are being realized by more and more commercial real estate developers and their tenants. A traditional speculative office building presents special challenges for the commissioning process. In the commercial real estate market, many office buildings are constructed as a core and shell (C&S) by the developer with customized tenant fit-out (TFO) of occupied spaces as they are leased.
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Commissioning: The Least You Can Do

April 1, 2007
Last month, I talked specifically about ASHRAE Guideline 0-2005, The Commissioning Process and its owner’s project requirements document. As quoted from the Guideline, the ASHRAE document “is not definitive, but encompasses areas where there may be a variety of approaches, none of which must be precisely correct.” I’d like to explore that a bit more this month. How much latitude is there in the term “commissioning” for new construction? If there are no approaches that are “precisely correct,” are there any approaches that should be considered incorrect?
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Design Flaws

Following up on Howard McKew's April "Tomorrow's Environment" column: Have you ever thought twice about reporting problems with another firm's design? What did you do?
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Tomorrow's Environment Podcast

This series from longtime columnist and chronic forward-thinker Howard McKew covers a lot of ground -- from retrocommissioning to systems training, on toward checklists for drawings and tips for meeting minutes. Click HERE to be taken to the podcast page!

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