Dig out those old Cyndi Lauper cassette tapes, pull-up the ol’ legwarmers, fluff-up that big hair…energy efficiency is going retro!!!
At least that was the message at a recent Dollars to $ense pilot workshop on Retro-commissioning that was put on by Natural Resources Canada. And what, you may ask, is this retro-commissioning stuff that it evokes images of Jennifer Beals in a baggy sweatshirt and the Brothers Gibb with their long, flowing locks and shiny suits? Quite simply, it’s a systematic process to make sure that buildings are running as efficiently as possible – a building energy tune-up if you will. It’s making sure the lights are being turned off and the thermostat adjusted when nobody’s home, it’s double checking that filters are clean and valves are not sticking, it’s confirming that the thingamabob that runs the watchmacallit is working properly…and it can cut your energy use by between 5% and 15%, with savings of up to 30% sometimes possible. Even better, retro-commissioning usually doesn’t cost a lot of money, sometimes nothing at all.
Actually, retro-commissioning has been around for quite some time (and some will say that it’s just a fancy word for maintenance), but for some reason, perhaps related to ever increasing utility costs, it’s an idea that just now seems to be catching on. Fortunately, we’ve been retro here at UHN for some time…as part of our TLC – Care to Conserve energy management program we’ve identified over $1 million in potential savings through retro-commissioning. Some of the opportunities, we’ve done already, others we’re in the process of doing and some we still need to investigate a bit more before we do…but it’s keeping us busy, keeping us green, and it’s enough to make an Energy & Environment Manager shout out “What a feeling, being’s believin’” because, you know, we just want to have fun. Ouch.