A unit of Professional Engineering Consultants has expanded into the business of evaluating and improving systems in older buildings.
Allied Laboratories has added “retro commissioning” as part of its services, a step it took after it attained certification through the National Environmental Balancing Bureau, a Maryland-based international certification association for firms that test and correct heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems, commission and retro commission buildings, and offer other related services.
Allied Laboratories is one of two Kansas firms to carry the NEBB retro commissioning certification, an NEBB spokeswoman confirmed. The other is P1 Group in Lenexa.
“This was kind of another certification that has come to light recently, and the work has become more popular,” said Bryan Ward, a PEC principal and an engineer in the firm’s mechanical division.
He conservatively estimated PEC and Allied Laboratories spent “thousands” of dollars to attain the retro commissioning certification as well as purchase the necessary equipment.
Allied Laboratories has performed building commissioning services for more than two decades. A commissioned building is a building whose systems have been tested, adjusted and balanced right after construction to ensure those systems are performing optimally, Ward said.
In retro commissioning, Allied Laboratories will evaluate an older building’s HVAC, electrical – such as lighting – and plumbing systems as well as the tightness of the building envelope for issues such as air leaks. Allied Laboratories will monitor and evaluate the building’s systems, find the problems, and provide recommendations to correct whatever issues they find, Ward said. The process will typically take a few months, so Allied Laboratories can develop trend information during the evaluation process.
“It’s kind of a holistic look through the entire building to try to find the things that can be improved upon,” he said.
Ward said PEC and Allied Laboratories pursued the retro commissioning certification because officials think a slowdown in new commercial construction over the past few years means firms are staying in older buildings longer, but that they continue to seek energy savings and better comfort for their employees.
“We kind of foresee that as something that will really grow here in the future,” Ward said.