Commissioning Your Building During Design and Construction for a Healthy School Environment

On this page:

Why It's Important

  • Building commissioning is like a "systems check" or "test run" – it verifies that the building is constructed and performs as designed.
  • Correctly implemented, commissioning is extremely cost-effective and should:
  • Improve the building delivery process
  • Increase systems reliability
  • Improve energy performance
  • Ensure good indoor environmental quality
  • Improve facility operation and maintenance

What You Can Do

  • You can commission all building systems, but mechanical, electrical and life safety systems are among the most important, including:
    • HVAC system
    • Building envelope
    • Kitchen equipment and fume hoods
  • EPA's IAQ Design Tools for Schools provides key elements of commissioning, a checklist and other guidance for schools to complete this process.

EPA and Federal Partners

The Commissioning section of EPA's IAQ Design Tools for Schools addresses commissioning agents, the cost of commissioning and a checklist for ensuring that design and construction features that affect IAQ are properly installed and operating.

ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is an online tool for building managers to track and assess energy and water consumption to help identify underperforming buildings, verify efficiency improvements and more.

The following links exit the site Exit

National Organizations

School Building Commissioning: Resource List  by the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities offers an annotated list of links, books and journal articles on certifying that a new school building meets required specifications.

Regional, State and Local Resources

Commissioning is addressed on California’s Division of the State Architect's Sustainable Schools website. The Web page describes the five phases of building commissioning and refers to additional facility performance evaluation resources.

Evaluating and Cleaning Up School Sites on the California Department of Toxic Substances Control website describes how to assess and investigate contamination on school properties and clean them up to a level that protects the students and faculty who will occupy the new school.

School Facility Commissioning: System-Inspection Guidelines for Minnesota PK-12 School Construction Projects (PDF) (29pp, 338K) by the Minnesota Department of Education presents the state's school facility commissioning statute and describes the process, including roles and responsibilities, and provides a commissioning checklist.