Hundreds of commissioning professionals will flock to Florida this spring as CxEnergy 2019 rolls into Orlando’s Caribe Royale Hotel and Convention Center April 15-18.

CxEnergy, billed as the only industry event dedicated to building commissioning and energy management in buildings and facilities, attracts attendees through a mixture of workshops, exams, seminars, recertification opportunities, and much more.

“The event’s growth and the enthusiasm surrounding it reflect our professions’ vital role in energy efficiency and optimizing performance and our professionals’ commitment to excellence,” said Rusty Ross, P.E., CxA, EMP, president of the AABC Commissioning Group (ACG).


This year’s conference will feature 32 presentations across a variety of topics and case studies from some of the best-known companies in engineering, manufacturing, and technology.

From 2-3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17, Paul J. Liesman, CxA, EMP, CFM; David M. Relko, P.E., CxA; and Michael Trizzino, P.E., all of Jacobs Engineering, will present “Commissioning Electrical Systems in Mission Critical Facilities.”

The presentation will focus on the immense amount of care and planning involved when commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities.

“Mission critical facilities require a high level of quality control when reviewing installation checklists, performing functional testing, and ensuring the MEP systems work together as intended,” Trizzino said. “My portion of the presentation will highlight a few best practices I have experienced at mission critical facilities, such as proactively directing, delegating, and participating in integrated system tests.”

Uptime is paramount in mission critical facilities, and failure of equipment is not acceptable.

“The operation of the electrical systems needs to be fully integrated with the operation of the mechanical systems to serve the critical areas of the facility,” Relko said. “The integrated commissioning of the combined systems will expose any defects in the systems and demonstrate reliable operation.”

Relko said the real-life projects used in the presentation will demonstrate how communication, coordination, and cooperation among all disciplines can improve the project’s schedule.

“Actual project examples will be used to demonstrate some testing techniques and lessons learned to more effectively test a mission critical facility such as a data center,” he said. “By using the examples, the attendees will see that electrical systems and their commissioning should be fully integrated with the understanding, operation and commissioning of the mechanical systems.”


Steven Metzgar, CxA, EMP, senior commissioning agent, and Johnathan Woodside, P.E., senior mechanical engineer, both of Gresham Smith, will present “Commonly Made Commissioning Mistakes” at 9:15 a.m. on Thursday, April 18.

“We will discuss the most important things to look for as a commissioning agent when testing a chilled water system,” said Metzgar. “Attendees will learn certain things to look for when testing the chilled water system, heating hot system, and installation issues.

“Clients assume that when a building is commissioned, they’ll not have any issues with their systems when they move in,” continued Metzgar. “I have found that they may not have as many issues, but they’ll still encounter some common issues that should have been discussed prior to them moving into a brand new building.”

The presentation is key to engineers as it will grant them an idea of exactly what a commissioning agent looks for when they commission a system.

“It also reinforces that a commissioning agent is there to help resolve issues in concert with the design engineer and not point fingers at what they did wrong,” he said.

Woodside said the presentation is pertinent as it will use real-life examples to back up the presenters' claims.

“The mistakes we’ll discuss were taken from a project we completed several months ago,” he said. “We’ve used those examples and turned them into a case study.”


At 10:30 a.m. EST on Thursday, April 18, Al LaPera, CxA, EMP, TLC Engineering Solutions, and Nick Dalesandro, P.E., director of workplace services, Depository Trust Clearing Corp. (DTCC), will present “Is an Audit & Retro-Cx an Rx for Energy Savings?”

The presentation will address common commissioning pitfalls, examine best practices, and demonstrate how these concepts were used in a recent audit and retro-Cx project.

“First, when considering an energy reduction project, it’s important that you develop a strong business case that identifies why sustainability and energy reduction is important to your company while making sure that it aligns to a corporate-level goal to maximize visibility with senior management,” Dalesandro said. “Firms should think about tangible benefits, such as energy reduction, cost savings, and reduced environmental impact as well as other benefits, which may be harder to measure, including the creation of a healthier, more comfortable work environment and an improved corporate reputation that could lead to recruiting better talent and attracting new clients.

“Additionally, communication is key,” Dalesandro continued. “Get everyone involved in the project, including your employees. A successful energy reduction project requires collaborative engagement across key stakeholders at all levels with ongoing communication throughout the initiative. It’s critical that you keep building engineers, operators, and maintenance technicians involved, providing continual feedback.” 

LaPera said the presentation will provide consultant and owner perspectives.

“From the consultant’s perspective, our presentation outlines what makes for a successful and unsuccessful energy audit/Retro Cx project,” he said. “Energy auditors and engineers many times overlook the synergies, or the lack of synergy, of energy conservation measures. By utilizing this non-holistic approach to an Audit/RetroCx project, they under achieve their projected goals by a factor of two.”


In addition to the presentations, CxEnergy will offer a trade show with approximately 50 exhibitors as well as numerous networking opportunities.

Metzgar believes events like CxEnergy strengthen the trade.

“Networking with clients and other commissioning firms help make our industry better overall,” he said.

Expositions such as CxEnergy offer a stage for manufacturers to showcase the latest advances in the energy conservation and commissioning.

“Using these concepts will allow engineers to design better, commissioning agents to provide the best confirmation of operation and maintainability, and owners and users to have more efficient facilities,” Relko said.

Attending CxEnergy provides attendees an opportunity to learn from other thoughtful leaders in the industry, said Dalesandro.

“It’s helpful to hear how others are approaching common problems and opportunities,” he said. “Since energy costs are likely to increase over time, it’s in our best interest to improve our performance. Similarly, carbon footprints are not likely to improve without concerted efforts by design engineers, commissioning engineers, building owners and building operators.”

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