Sugar Hill E Center - Commissioning Case Study

Project Highlights

Sugar Hill E-Center is a state of the art building with almost 200,000 square feet of occupiable space. This includes a 400-seat performing arts theater called the “Eagle Theater”, that can host plays as well as movies. The second building is a gymnasium that will be home court for local schools in basketball, volleyball, and other indoor sporting events. The gymnasium has an elevated indoor walking track. The third structure is called the multipurpose building. It houses office spaces for lease, restaurants, dance studio, and retail shops.

EMCx was the commissioning authority on this project and successfully coordinated with the client, designers and contractors to deliver a high-quality product that the city is proud of. Systems and equipment that were commissioned included:

  1. Yanmar Gas Powered Heat Pumps
  2. Daikin VRF Fan Coil Units
  3. AAON Rooftop Units
  4. AAON Energy Recovery Ventilators
  5. Lennox Rooftop Units
  6. Natural Gas Generator
  7. Transfer Switch
  8. Panelboards and Dry Transformers
  9. HVAC Control System
  10. Tankless Water Heaters

Electronic Pre-functional checklists were prepared using the Cx Manager® web application. These were delivered during construction and completed before functional performance testing (FPT).

Issue Tracking

Issues were tracked using the Cx Manager® web application where a total of 135 issues were recorded (47 Design | 24 Installation | 65 Testing). The following is a sampling of major issues address by the Cx Process.
# Major Issues Addressed
1 Design: Stairs provided to roof in lieu of shipman’s ladder
2 Design: Several unclear design requirements asked and clarified
3 Construction: Several installation defects found and addressed
4 Construction: Covering and protection of expensive equipment
5 Testing: Coordination between contractors and manufacturers
6 Testing: Several sequences, not implemented, tracked and fixed

For this project, the estimated savings was 25 x the cost of commissioning. Because of the significant investment made for this facility, implementing this owner’s quality process was a ‘no-brainer’. In hind sight, it was an investment that paid for itself several times over. The estimated savings described only included the tangible, and measurable benefits, but there are other benefits that are not included in this calculation, such as:

  • Higher quality indoor environment from Cx construction practices such as covering of air ducts.
  • Longer life of commissioned equipment due to proper installation and sequencing.
  • Lower energy cost due to proper implementation of sequences and unoccupied setbacks.
  • Better building operability and maintainability due to proper installation, training, and documentation.
  • Less O&M calls due to proper operation of systems.
  • Owner peace of mind from proper installation, high quality training, and documentation.
  • The whole staff at the City of Sugar Hill is excited that the building is being commissioned.

    Paul Radford - Sugar Hill City Manager

    About The Author

    Nigel Gray is a Building Systems Commissioning professional and an electrical engineer in the Greater Atlanta area. He serves as Chief Executive Officer for Energy Management Consulting. Nigel also serves as Secretary of the City of Sugar Hill - Downtown Development Authority (DDA). He lives with his family in Sugar Hill, GA.