McMac Commissioning Services, LLC (McMac Cx) was founded to provide building owners, operators and tenants continuous and transparent third-party verification that the spaces in which we work, live, worship, play, and learn are healthy and optimized for their designed tasks. Bound by the core principles of the commissioning (Cx) process’ independent confirmation performance protocols, McMac Cx provides field proven processes, tools, and services that increase building transparency, employee productivity and asset value.
McMac Cx is heavily invested in the growing recognition that commissioning (Ongoing Cx, Continuous Cx, Measurement & Verification (M&V) and Cloud Analytic Optimization) will be an integral part of a building’s whole life journey. Owners are challenged with providing healthy productive spaces for their respective communities. Owners want their building’s operational optimization priorities to be transparent and immediately available, so that timely decisions can be made, and outcomes can be continuously confirmed. McMac Cx ensures that building operators get the right tools to meet space priorities, now and in the future. We accomplish this by facilitating the evaluation of best technological and design solutions practices.
McMac Cx has chosen a business model that fosters an environment of community support, growing our local professionals through partnerships and outreach. McMac Cx educates owners, designers, contractors, Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) and vendors in integrating the commissioning (Cx) process into their building design, construction, and operation activities. McMac Cx works with these professionals to provide leadership, standardization, and training to ensure the quality of commissioning deliverables and expectations are kept high.
McMac Cx employs highly-skilled professionals with the depth of experience and confidence needed to lead the project commissioning teams, while developing pathways for growing future commissioning specialists.
When I started my career in the commercial building industry, pneumatic controls were still the predominant system for automating building HVAC systems. My role as a Systems Engineer with the nation’s largest commercial HVAC equipment manufacturer allowed me to be at the forefront of the implementation of Direct Digital Controls (DDC). A lot of growing pains were experienced, by everyone at the time, due to a lack of communications standards, high cost, unreliability of equipment, proprietary systems, poor training, inability to verify performance, marketplace confusion, and a lack of understanding as to why this even needs to be done. This lack of perceived drivers for change and cost were the biggest obstacles to adoption of this new technology. Most owners and designers will always be reluctant to try anything that increases their exposure to risk. Building operators will need to be retrained, new alliances with different suppliers and contractors will need to be formed, staffing levels adjusted, and benefit demonstrated. Those of us at the forefront of the new DDC implementation saw all of this, but we also saw something else. We saw the huge opportunity for the building owners and operators to see directly into their asset’s systems status and operation. Data trending abilities now confirmed building behavior and allowed for better and timelier decisions on maintaining system setpoints. This was a huge step forward in demonstrating HVAC system stability and reliability, which meant better space temperature and humidity control, thereby reducing tenant hot and cold calls. High at the top of the list of goals of every building owner and operator is increasing tenant satisfaction, which directly impacts vacancy rates and job security.
Twenty-five years ago, energy efficiency was not a huge motivator for developers and building owners. However, new drivers emerged that started to change this. In addition to a better understanding, by designers and equipment manufacturers, of what DDC could do, came highly fluctuating energy prices, Federal building directives to decrease portfolio energy usage, adoption of more stringent building codes (stick), and the introduction of above minimum code voluntary rating systems such as LEED that allowed leaders and innovators to differentiate themselves and attract higher premiums (carrot).
These drivers, and others, have continued to bring a laser focus on energy efficiency, to the point where most designers are expected to be able to come up with creative designs that offer above minimum code energy efficiency at no additional upfront cost or with a very fast payback.
BuildingIQ is a perfect fit and complements McMac Cx current services. As mentioned previously, the level of conversation around energy efficiency is now common across all those professions involved in the design, construction, and operation of the built environment. However, talk is cheap. The design and construction side of the process is able to deliver on the promise of energy efficiency. What has not caught up is the ability to provide a consistent level of building operational performance. This lack of consistency is partly due to the success of DDC system control. The sequences of operation, control language, and machine interactions have all become more complicated and are great when working properly, but also more difficult for building operators to diagnose.
BuildingIQ brings the relevant data to the building owner and operator in a manner that they can digest. It also removes much of the anxiety, that building owners and operators have, about the expectation that their staff must understand all the nuances involved in system interactions. They can instead concentrate on implementing opportunities identified and other non-data interpretation exercises. This separation of responsibilities also allows BuildingIQ to do what it does best, which is provide that transparent instantaneous, third-party verified, assurance that the facility is meeting all the agreed upon optimized benchmarks. Having a 24/7 center devoted to looking at all operating parameters is another assurance that the asset is achieving its highest value.
For years we have been collecting more and more data from equipment and sensors. Only a fraction of available data is used by most Building Automation Systems (BAS) to control the building. By pulling out all available data we can now bring forecasting into the equation and predict outcomes based on past performance. This can be a powerful tool for decision makers to use when buying energy, budgeting for equipment replacement, or refining the system’s operation.
McMac Cx believes that energy efficiency is very important in helping to ensure our communities are healthy. The focus on efficiency, however, is moving toward productive outcomes in the spaces occupied by tenants. We don’t construct efficient buildings to be home to highly efficient equipment. We strongly believe that we construct efficient buildings to be home to highly productive communities. Highly productive communities want to be in buildings that are quiet, close to amenities, make use of natural light with views and foster collaboration. So, we see a future that shows a continued commitment to minimizing the use of our finite resources.
Mandatory codes will continue to demand higher efficiency to delay or eliminate added infrastructure. Benchmarking of a building’s energy use intensity (EUI) will become the norm. Voluntary above-minimum-code rating systems, such as LEED, and transparent building performance platforms, such as Arc, will continue to be used by leaders and innovators to show their commitment, not just to energy efficiency and water conservation efforts, but also to enhancing the human experience.
The current generation of workers, who are now entering the job market, are tech-savvy and expect real-time access to their surrounding environmental data. They want assurance, via an app, that they are in a building / space that is verified to be using less energy, water, and other finite resources. They want to know they are being provided a heathy and productive environment in which to work, live, worship, play, and learn. So, we expect that they will drive adoption of new technologies that confirm that the Indoor Environmental Quality (IAQ) is continuously monitored for acceptable levels of sound, light, ozone, VOC, CO2, particulate matter and other yet to be determined contributors. They will expect this data to be available in an immediate transparent manner.
The key, then, will be to figure out how to use the right tools to collect data and give it to all building consumers in a manner that brings mutual value. The goal being that all tenants are confident that they are in a space that contributes to their health and allows them to be as productive as possible.
David MacLean is Vice President at McMac Commissioning Services, LLC. He is responsible for ensuring all operations comply with the more stringent commissioning requirements of voluntary rating systems, such as LEED and the WELL Building Standard. He works closely with building developers, architects, engineers, and municipalities to review commissioning project plans, devise schedules, and establish performance metrics.