“Refrigeration Commissioning Guide for Commercial and Industrial Systems” is now available from ASHRAE as a free download. According to the association, the publication provides guidance for commissioning of custom-engineered refrigeration systems in commercial and industrial facilities. The book was funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The book is available at www.ashrae.org/freeRefCxGuidance.

“Custom refrigeration systems are complex and individually designed for each facility,” said  Richard Royal, who served as chair of the committee that wrote the guide. “Deficiencies in the system design found at start-up are not easily resolved and, as a result, maintenance managers or operators deal with unnecessary shortcomings and expenses over the life of a facility. The value of commissioning is to establish a consistent stepwise process that helps ‘get it right the first time,’ resulting in refrigeration systems that ‘work right’ and minimize maintenance and energy costs.”

Royal noted that commissioning of refrigeration systems is uncommon in the industry. One reason is a belief that commissioning results in added cost and time without sufficient or measureable value.

“Certainly, commissioning is an investment, but it provides significant financial value in several ways,” he said. “First, systems operate more reliably with lower maintenance cost and lower energy cost when commissioning is applied as described in this guide. Second, incorporating commissioning can reduce first cost through improved understanding of system performance and lead to better equipment design and installation methods.”

The guide will aim to help achieve cost-effective and cost-efficient refrigeration systems for new projects, expansions, remodels, and existing systems that simply need a tune-up. For commercial facility owners and managers, this means improved profitability through lower operating and service costs as well as reduced product loss. For industrial plants, this means improved “up time” and improved labor productivity in addition to reduced operating cost, according to Royal.

Also included in the guide is information on commissioning during planning and design, construction and installation, and system start-up and first-year operation. A matrix helps delineate roles and responsibilities. Examples of commissioning checklists and acceptance plans can be used for reference or template.