Monitor-Based Commissioning: An Introduction

With so many states and cities implementing energy benchmarking and reduction goals, monitor-based commissioning has become a critical area of focus for facility managers of larger buildings.

If you’re new to the topic or just want a birds’ eye view, here’s a brief introduction:

What it is

The term “commissioning” comes from shipbuilding. A commissioned ship is one deemed ready for service. Before being awarded this title, however, a ship must pass several milestones. Equipment is installed and tested, problems are identified and corrected, and the prospective crew is extensively trained.

Building commissioning is this same approach, applied to new buildings. When a building is initially commissioned it undergoes an intensive quality assurance process that begins during design and continues through construction, occupancy, and operations.

And, monitor-based commissioning (MBCx) is the application of the commissioning process to that building or energy system in an on-going manner. MBCx uses robust algorithms and AI technology to continuously analyze building operations and energy performance daily and over time. This approach can immediately alert to deficiencies and/or proactively prevent them.

The Process

Monitor-Based Commissioning has two stages for implementation: the initial system set-up and the ongoing monitoring and reporting. Once MBCx is set up and integrated as part of a continuous building improvement process, it accesses and analyzes data from multiple sources to identify faults or issues. It then prioritizes those deficiencies and helps identify resolution paths.

Utilizing MBCx can be an effective method to sustain performance gained from energy conservation measures (ECMs), keep energy consumption low, and minimize system problems that may be caused by performance deterioration and changes to building operations over time.


  • Identify energy savings opportunities
  • Improve occupant comfort and productivity
  • Continuous monitoring of all equipment 24/7/365
  • Plan for and dispatch maintenance and repairs
  • Gain visibility for capital planning
  • Develop a gateway to machine learning and automated intelligence
  • Optimize facility performance over time
  • Avoid downtime and emergencies

Common Problems Identified by MBCx

  • Electric and gas meters with inefficient nighttime operation
  • Simultaneous heating and cooling
  • Excessive lighting
  • Temperature sensors with faulty thermostats
  • Improperly functioning VAV actuators on air dampers and hot water valves
  • Non-delivery of chilled water
  • Unnecessary chiller operation due to disabled chiller lockout
  • Manual overrides (equipment/setpoints not modulating)
  • Systems running outside of operating hours

Dive Deeper

If you want to learn a bit more, view our MBCx whitepaper, which includes some resource links for more information