Newsletter march 2014



Dear readers,

Do you wish to have an interactive exchange with the Re-Commissioning-experts? You can do it! Visit our LinkedIn-group European Re-Co Network, become a member and discuss with our experts. The European Re-Co Network serves as a platform, where you can share your experiences and spread your knowledge, receive answers to your Re-Co questions or simply follow the Re-Co project activities. If you are interested in being a part of a Re-Commissioning challenge, please, come and join us!

Some more information on Re-Commissioning you can however find also inside this issue of the Re-Co newsletter. If you would like to learn something more about how to implement Re-Commissioning as a provider or what you can benefit from it as a client, a Guidebook Re-Commissioning will be an interesting reading for you. The draft version of the guide is already available on the Re-Co webpage

Seinäjoki Central Hospital, Finland

We are presenting also lessons learned in the Re-Co project at the Seinäjoki Central Hospital in Finland, where the project partner VTT had to deal also with a bad indoor air quality. Achieving substantial reduction of heat consumption in the period 2005-2012, the constantly rising electricity consumption was leading to a series of successful motivational activities for efficient electricity use in General hospital Brežice. And the excellent cooperation of the project partner e7 with a highly motivated team of responsible technicians in Austrian Hospital Sisters of Charity in Linz resulted in a significant reduction of energy use.

And last but not least, the Optimisation of Ventilation Systems in the BG Klinik Ludwigshafen, the project was presented also in the previous issue of the Re-Co newsletter, was awarded as the best case of the month December at Build-up – the European portal for energy efficiency in buildings.




A Guidebook Re-Commissioning that will be realised in the frame of the Re-Co project discusses the main aspects of Re-Commissioning, including:

  • financial and non-financial benefits;
  • Re-Commissioning process, including typical tasks and deliverables, detailed guidelines, do's and don'ts, …;
  • Re-Commissioning tools, hardware (e.g. measure-ment equipment) and software (e.g. online tool for comfort surveys);
  • Re-Commissioning measures;
  • Re-Commissioning information sources, including Top 4 Re-Commissioning guidebooks.

In the following paragraphs, we briefly discuss the Re-Commissioning benefits and process as described in the guidebook.



The financial benefits of Re-Commissioning, these are the benefits that can be expressed in financial terms, are an increase of profit via decreasing energy costs and higher employee productivity. 

The energy cost savings in buildings via Re-Commissioning range from 0,65 to 6 EUR/m², the required investments are zero or very low and the profitability of the measures is typically very high. 

Re-Commissioning measures typically also improve the well-functioning of the HVAC- and lighting installations and increase the productivity of the employees working in the building. A comfort survey of 14 Belgian public offices showed that the satisfaction score of overall comfort can be increased significantly via simple Re-Commissioning measures such as tuning the existing building management system. In these office buildings Re-Commissioning measures would generate a financial effect on the productivity of the employees of about 3,5 EUR/m².

The non-financial benefits, these are the benefits that often do generate financial profit but in these cases the financial advantage is very difficult to estimate, are for instance improved environmental performance (e.g. decreased CO2 emissions), improved compliance with regulations and increase of the building value.

An important non-financial benefit is also the fact that Re-Commissioning measures are an ideal starting point for the implementation of other energy efficiency measures, amongst other because they quickly generate visible energy saving results (5-15%) and financial profit for the organisation. This allows demonstration of the advantages of energy saving in the very early stage of an energy efficiency program. This increases the trust and support of all energy saving stakeholders within the organization. 


The four main tasks of the Re-Commissioning process are visualised in the figure below.

Mobilisation and project definition is a crucial initial Re-Commissioning process step performed jointly by the Re-Commissioning consultant and the client in order to have a clear definition and understanding of the project that is shared by all stakeholders. The results of this joint work will be:

  • The assurance that all stakeholders have been identified, informed and mobilised in their role.
  • A set of strategic objectives.
  • A pre-analysis and a defined scope of the project, i.e. buildings and installations that will be included in the project.
  • A known reference situation before the start of the project.

In the frame of the task 2, the Re-Commissioning consultant investigates the building stock, identifies high potentials and defines specific measures of improvement and a plan for their implementation. The client will receive a clear calculation of costs and benefits of each measure to decide about the implementation.

In the frame of task 3, the measures are designed and implemented. Also, a concept for the evaluation of the results – including a suitable technical metering system – is defined and installed.

Re-Co Services are intended to come and stay! The metering concept and the success indicators are great tools to continuously monitor the performance of your buildings, to maintain the savings and to even identify further measures of improvement.

An important step in this task is the project transfer meeting where you present:

  • the final evaluation of the measures;
  • the proposed design of the continuation of measures and
  • the proposed design of the continuation of the evaluation.

A draft version of the guidebook is at the moment already available on the Re-Co webpage. The final version will be published in spring 2014.



One of the Re-Co pilot projects is being implemented also at the Seinäjoki Central Hospital in Finland. The hospital has several buildings which are from only 1 to almost 100 years old.

The piloting takes place in two separate parts of the hospital: in the C building with a Children’s policlinic, where piloting is related to the ventilation and indoor air quality (IAQ), and in the H building where the presence sensors, which are connected to the patient’s rooms lighting, and the use of intelligent automation are the main subjects of the piloting. Both piloting buildings have an area of about 1.000 m2 each.

Buildings C and H are just examples of the Re-Commissioning implementation and the effect of the findings and corrective actions in the piloting are planned to extend to a much bigger extent to the same type of spaces.

The planning of the C building energy saving measures started with a fact that there have been IAQ issues leading to various repairs e.g. changing floor materials and having ventilation constantly on. Some energy saving investments in the building (e.g. an installation of heat recovery unit into HVAC system) have already been done in 1996. The Re-Co project was therefore not allowed to explore the conventional energy saving potential (e.g. timing of ventilation) to put IAQ at risk. Instead, the better air quality with the same energy usage is a target and in this pilot regarded as a success. Normally the better indoor air quality requires more energy.

The activities in C building started by making a data acquisition every 10 minutes of all HVAC units’ parameters available. Small temperature and humidity measurement units were placed into a couple of rooms together with a “comment paper” for the employees. The next step was to measure the pressure between the outdoor and indoor air (pressure over the building envelope) as well as the pressures between the policlinic and other parts of the hospital (Figure 1). The Figure 2 is taken from an iPad showing on screen one temperature channel of HVAC in about 2 weeks’ time period.

Figure 1: The on-site measurements

The planning of the Re-Commissioning measures in H building started with a meeting between technical staff and the ward personnel. The ward personnel gave ideas how to further program the lighting to avoid unnecessary use of the manual off instead of using the presence sensor driven automatic lights. The sensors have been installed in H building in 2010 with a limited success and that is why this was selected to be an electricity part of the piloting.

Figure 2: The data on the iPad

The measures are based on collecting the time of “lights on” (via Building Management System) as well as the light-switch position and the presence sensors status. The measured energy use is then compared to the data prior the piloting as well as the calculated saving potential.

The comments of the policlinic employees in the C building stated clearly that the IAQ was the worst in the mornings and especially after the weekends which shouldn’t be the case because of the constant ventilation. The pressure measurements showed (over building envelope), however, a dramatic pressure drop (more underpressure) after the office hours closure leading to an assumption that unknown sources of supply air exist. 

Further examinations showed that the pressure-drop was not room specific.  Later on the reason for the pressure drop was found out to be the HVAC timings of the neighbouring wards. The changes to the neighbouring wards HVAC units made Children’s policlinic pressure drop smaller and as a result the employees commented air quality being better. The pressure measurements continue and the sources of the unknown supply air are under discussion. Figure 3 shows an example of the effect of the neighbouring departments HVAC units steering to the Children’s policlinic pressure over the envelope. The policlinic pressure over the envelope was improved in 2 steps – first one and then the second neighbouring department HVAC units were put to the same operating hours as the policlinic, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The target was to achieve at maximum -5 Pa of the pressure over the envelope and the result is quite close.

Figure 3: The effect of the neighbouring departments HVAC units to the Children’s policlinic




First energy efficiency measures implemented in the General hospital Brežice, one of two Slovenian Re-Co pilot projects, date back to 2005, when the reconstruction of the boiler house and the exchange of fuel oil with natural gas were carried out. In the period 2005-2012 the energy consumption in the hospital was reduced by 37%, while the energy consumption per m2 of the net floor area fell by almost a third and the energy consumption per patient by even 42%. And the reduction is expected to be even bigger, as the hospital is currently implementing an energy reconstruction project, with mostly energy efficiency measures on the building envelope included.

However, most of the above mentioned results were achieved by reducing heat consumption, while the electricity consumption is, especially because of the increasing number of air-conditioning split systems and electronic devices, slowly, but steadily increasing. In the period 2005-2012 the electricity consumption rose by even 52% and that was one of the reasons, why the hospital joined the Re-Co project.  

Basic data of the pilot project
No. of buildings 7
Net floor area 7.814 m2
Electricity consumption (2011)  775 MWh
Natural gas consumption (2011) 1.809 MWh

In order to stabilize the electricity consumption the Re-Co project partner, Jožef Stefan Institute – Energy Efficiency Centre (JSI-EEC), decided to work especially on motivation of hospital employees for a more energy efficient behaviour. From May to November 2013 four motivational workshops were carried out, attended every time by the same group of employees (nurses, cleaning staff, keepers, administration …) who represent app. 15% of all employees. Night and early morning room ventilation by window opening, appropriate use of the building shades, lighting and electronic devices turning off when not in use and the room temperature set not more than 8 °C below the outdoor temperature when using air-conditioning split systems in the summer time are only few examples of the measures communicated to the workshops’ participants.  As the result 21 MWh of electricity was saved in the period from the mid May to the end of November in comparison with the same period last year, which corresponds to 5% electricity consumption reduction. At the workshop in November employees were encouraged to try also some heat efficient measures mostly orientated towards an appropriate use of the heaters and efficient ventilation of the rooms in winter.

Figure 1Also thermography can be used when planning Re-Commissioning measures – opened windows at the outdoor
temperature -5° C led to interesting findings

These are, however, not the only energy efficiency measures carried out or planned in the General hospital Brežice. Only revising energy supply contracts for example, saved some money. Sanitary hot water is now prepared locally in efficient condensing boilers throughout the whole year and not only during the heating season. Also one of the buildings is not heated from the central boiler house anymore, as the use of the local condensing boiler proved to be more efficient. Further savings were achieved by lowering the average water temperature at the exit of the main boiler. All these, only no-cost energy efficiency measures, have contributed to app. 4% lower heat consumption. By improving regulation in the boiler house and the regulation of the new solar heat system further savings could be achieved, but as for those measures investments are needed, they are still under negotiation.

Figure 2: Electricity consumption per 2 weeks long intervals since the beginning of 2011

Figure 3: Motivation workshop in May 2013

Despite the fact that General hospital Brežice has already achieved significant energy savings and is involved in energy performance project, further savings were feasible. This was only possible due to the full support of the general management, very good cooperation with technical staff and a high team spirit of all employees attending motivational workshops. We can only confirm that for a successful Re-Commissioning project a good cooperation between indoor and external team is needed. 



The Hospital of the Sisters of Charity Linz in the centre of Linz was founded in 1841 and has grown continuously since then. Almost all medical specialties are represented in this clinic, which features a usable area of nearly 100.000 m2 and 690 beds.
In 2012, the hospital needed more than 30 GWh of energy: 11 GWh of electricity and district heat each and 8 GWh of natural gas, which is used only for the steam generation.
The energy consumption was analysed with the support of a load profile tool developed by e7. This tool facilitates the interpretation of the consumption structure and allows drawing conclusions for energy efficiency measures in a standardized and quick way.
Because of their large size the air conditioning and ventilation systems of the hospital represented a challenge: due to the historical development of the hospital, more than 200 independent systems are available. Especially the operation times have been checked, with the result that operation times could be reduced by up to 60% in many systems. This does not only result in electricity savings, but also the need for the heat and vapour (natural gas) is reduced by reducing the amount of air.

Taking into account the existing building stock the initial district heat demand of about 130 kWh/m2a seemed to be quite “normal”. However, a detailed analysis showed that app. 45% of the demand were only required for the hot water production. At the same time, the return temperature of district heat (67 °C) was very high, thereby causing other sources of loss. A detailed analysis will be carried out to achieve a global solution for this problem.

Natural gas is used exclusively for the production of steam, which is used in the kitchen, for humidification and for sterilization. The largest part of natural gas consumption was only required for the operation of the steam network. Even though not all recommended measures have been implemented yet, the gas consumption fell by around 11% due to structural changes and organizational measures. Overall, about 25% savings are expected due to the Re-Commissioning implemented by e7.
Also the district heat consumption was reduced. Even though the heating-degree-days increased by about 5% due to the long winter, the consumption in the last heating season fell by about 9%.
The biggest success of the analysis is already apparent: while the electricity consumption annually rose by about 4% in recent years, a reduction of about 6% compared to 2012 will be achieved. Even in August 2013, which showed peak temperatures for several weeks, the electricity consumption declined.
Altogether, energy savings of about 8% are expected without climate adjustment. Currently, efforts are made to involve all employees in the project, e.g. by collecting and implementing energy saving tips by means of a pool of ideas.
Finally, the excellent cooperation with the responsible technicians has to be mentioned: the results of the analysis were adopted and implemented by the company technicians. The external technical impulse, which fell on a fertile ground in the highly motivated team, was important. Therefore, one must clearly speak of a team success. 



The annual meeting of the Austrian hospital technicians takes place every year in late September at Pörtschach am Wörthersee. During the conference this year it was possible to provide an insight into experience gained with Re-Commissioning (Re-Co) to interested people within a special workshop.

Having presented the background and concept of Re-Co, the potential for Re-Co in hospitals was discussed with 25 participants. It became apparent that the management must clearly signalize that energy efficiency is an issue in the company. Moreover, the user training was addressed too: not only the building technician can control whether and how much energy is saved by means of complex building automation, but all the employees of the company must know about the effects of e.g. opening the windows in air-conditioned buildings.

After a lively discussion, the experiences with Re-Co in Austria were presented. While George Benke of e7 pointed out the possibilities given by optimizing the building control system (see article on the page 7), Reinhard Ungerböck of Grazer Energy Agency presented the extent to which involvement of the staff of the hospital is appropriate and feasible. However, it must be noted that although all employees should be involved by means of information, integration beyond this aspect would be too labour intensive within the scope of the project approach.

Subsequently, the relationship between the in-house personnel and external consultants was addressed in a second discussion round, whereby it was clearly communicated by the participants that external guidance and supervision are essential. Furthermore, the participants emphasized that both the task and the role of the consultant have to be clearly defined and communicated from the start.

The Re-Co workshop was concluded with a brief overview of the national Energy Efficiency Act draft, which constitutes the implementation of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive.




Boris Papousek: Re-Commissioning Services for Existing Complex Buildings: 10% Savings without Capex?,
13. Symposium Energy Innovation, 14.2.2014, Graz, Østerrike, påmelding påEnInnov2014

Reinhard Ungerböck: Energie in Therapie -
Re-Commissioning-Services: theory and practice in hospitals
, Ökoprofit Klubworkshop, 4.2.2014, Graz, Østerrike

Barbara Petelin Visočnik: Additional Savings by Optimization of Energy Systems, 16th Energy Managers’ Conference, 15. – 16.4.2014, Portorož, Slovenia, påmelding på

Ursula Rieger: European Project Re-Co – Energy Efficiency Without Investments, RES Hospitals – Final Conference, 21. – 22.11.2013, Asti, Italy


Uwe Hemminger: Realisierte Energieeinsparmaßnahmen in der BG Klinik Ludwigshafen im Rahmen des EU-Forschungsprojektes Re-Co, Workshop Energie-Effizienz-Netzwerk, 19.10.2013, Ludwigshafen, Tyskland


Boris Papousek: Re-Commissioning Services: Immediate Savings and Triggering Building Refurbishment Measures in Non-Residential Buildings, 27.9.2013, Graz, Østerrike

Project Coordinator

Nationalcontact point:

Newsletter editor:
Grazer ENERGIEAgentur
Kaiserfeldgasse 13/I
8010 Graz
Jožef Stefan Institute
Energy Efficiency Centre

Jamova cesta 39
1000 Ljubljana
Barbara Petelin Visočnik
Jožef Stefan Institute
Energy Efficiency Centre
Jamova cesta 39
1000 Ljubljana
Jan W. Bleyl
Tlf:  +43-316-811848-0

Barbara Petelin Visočnik
Phone:   +386-1-5885-394


Tlf:  +386-1-5885-394


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