On Target: a Building Systems Commissioning Program at Sandia
Ralph Wrons, Sandia
Sandia National Laboratories, New Mexico site, is committed to
making building systems commissioning a standard and effective business
practice. Since Sandia is in the midst of the largest building boom
in its existence, which includes several complex laboratory facilities,
employing rigorous building systems commissioning is essential to
assuring that project requirements are met. Project requirements
include the capacity, functionality, and efficiencies, on time and
Sandia has been making strides to include commissioning (Cx) in
many projects since about 1994, but only recently has it been made
a top priority. This presentation will touch on elements of this
timeline and specific commissioning efforts at Facilities in the
last few years will be highlighted. The lessons learned from trying
to employ Cx and current objectives to formalize a comprehensive
program will be discussed.
Sandia has three large projects with commissioning requirements:
- One is an office/laboratory building in construction, scheduled
for completion coincident with the October 2003 Labs 21 conference.
A commissioning authority (CxA) is on contract to Sandia for this
- Another is the Labs 21 pilot partner MESA project that is expected
to begin construction by June 2003. A Test Engineer working for
the Construction Contractor will carry out the requirements of
the Commissioning Specification.
- The third is the CINT project, which is beginning the Construction
Documents phase of design. A commissioning plan was started in
the schematic design phase and has been improved upon since, to
the point it is setting the stage for how commissioning plans
will be developed at Sandia.
In parallel with these projects, Sandia is evaluating proposals
for a scope of work to provide commissioning services on a task
order basis (recall: "largest building boom in its existence").
It is expected that the contracted Commissioning firm will provide
design phase commissioning for the CINT project and assist with
commissioning on a number of other projects of varying size and
complexity. The CxA firm will assist Sandia in developing its commissioning
Findings from these various projects will be summarized and presented.
Also expected are the development of benchmarks, such as reduced
punch lists, reduced change orders, reduced customer complaints,
to measure the effect of comprehensive commissioning.
Sandia is trying to follow many of the tenets of the Labs 21 approach
in most of its large building projects. This includes setting goals
and performance metrics to guide the design. Building systems commissioning
is another of the tenets, employed to assure that energy and water
efficiency targets are met. Commissioning will be essential to achieve
the following in the MESA project: advanced energy metering, advanced
energy efficiency of the hot water and chilled water systems of
the Central Utility Building, the advanced water efficiency of the
ultrapure water system. Along the way, efforts will be made to measure
systems performance and compare to the performance metrics that
were set in the design criteria phase.
Ralph Wrons has worked
in Facilities Engineering at Sandia National Laboratories in New
Mexico for 13 years. Until recently, he served as the Facilities
Energy Manager for seven years. Since January 2003, he is in the
Construction Inspection and Acceptance department and leading the
Facilities effort to develop a formalized commissioning program
for a range of project sizes, from design construction
occupancy phase. Ralph has a B.S. in Energy Engineering
from the University of Arizona and earned his P.E. license in New
Mexico in 1997.