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TVA’s EnergyRight Healthcare Continuous Commissioning® Incentives

Hospitals are one of the largest commercial energy consumers and have the highest energy intensity of any large building type. To help combat this, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is currently offering two “pilot” incentives for healthcare facilities (in the TVA region) to improve their energy efficiency. The two TVA’s EnergyRight Healthcare Continuous Commissioning® Incentives […]

A Building Enclosure’s Impact on Isolation Space

Houston Methodist Continuing Care Hospital (HMCCH formally known as St. Catherine Hospital) was originally built in the mid 1990s and Houston Methodist acquired the facility in 2014. Given the proximity to Houston Methodist West, the intended plan was for HMCCH to become a long-term acute care and rehabilitation facility.   Shortly after the acquisition, one […]

Sustainability Efforts at the New Wynn Hospital

SSR has been working with Mohawk Valley Health System and NBBJ Architects to deliver a new 685,000 SF, 360-bed replacement hospital in Utica, NY. The new facility, Wynn Hospital, is a replacement for two aging hospitals that have been serving the area, St. Luke’s and St. Elizabeth’s. Our multidisciplinary team is providing a range of […]

A Guide to Fitwel Certification

Fitwel is a healthy building certification system aimed at creating facilities that improve the health and well-being of occupants. If you’ve already read our blog post Fitwel: Building Health for All, this post will serve as a guide to Fitwel certification, including answering the following questions:  What does the certification process look like? How long […]

Fitwel: Building Health for All

Fitwel is a healthy building certification system aimed at creating facilities that improve the health and well-being of occupants. Based on evidence-based design strategies, Fitwel addresses a broad range of health behaviors and risks including physical activity, nutrition, mental health, and social engagement. Originally created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and U.S. […]

SSR’s Four Phase Approach to Existing Building Commissioning

Most facilities are designed to operate at a certain level of performance. Over time, a facility’s performance may diminish due to age, improper maintenance, or worn-out equipment. Existing building commissioning (EBCx) provides an owner with a means to improve performance of existing buildings by finding ways to optimize existing systems and even replace older equipment […]

What is Existing Building Commissioning (EBCx)?

Like commissioning a ship, commissioning a building ensures a facility’s systems operate as they should, and the building is set to perform at peak efficiency. A building can be commissioned as part of the construction process (new building commissioning) or after the facility is occupied, which is known as existing building commissioning (EBCx). A common […]

Commissioning a Golf Course

SSR’s commissioning group likes to work on facilities that have complex mechanical and electrical systems – typically hospitals, stadiums, and labs. Sometimes a facility type will be outside our usual markets but still meet those criteria of having complex systems or unique challenges. In recent years, we’ve provided new building commissioning services to a private […]

Building Sustainability with Electric Vehicles

The rapid adoption of electric vehicles and the demand for charging stations is affecting many of the markets and projects that SSR serves. Eric Sheffer, LEED AP BD+C, O+M, ISSP-SA, Sustainability Principal, provided insight to how owners, developers, and industry leaders are embracing electric vehicles and charging stations.   Widespread Adoption Interest in electric vehicle charging […]


We made it! Seven of SSR’s offices achieved WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). We achieved the minimum of 15 points required for certification for each of the project locations. Now, what did we learn?   Don’t Recreate the Wheel Once the project(s) are registered in […]

SSR WELL Health-Safety Rating Journey: Innovation

We are in the home stretch! Projects can achieve up to three points total in the Innovation category to help round out their score under any of the following options:   Option 1: Innovation Proposal A project can submit an innovation proposal that describes a feature that positively impacts project occupants by relating to acute […]

SSR WELL Health-Safety Rating Journey: Let’s Talk About It

As mentioned in several previous posts, the key to a successful WELL Health-Safety project is communication with building occupants. One of the main drivers for projects to pursue the rating is to prioritize and promote the health and safety of their buildings and spaces. The following category for Stakeholder Engagement and Communication awards projects for […]

SSR WELL Health-Safety Rating Journey: Air & Water Quality-Maintenance

This post is a continuation of our discussion on improving indoor air quality (IAQ) and water quality for projects pursuing the WELL Health-Safety Rating. The last post highlighted Features that required some technical expertise. The remaining Features in the Air and Water Quality Management category require regular maintenance or monitoring throughout the year if pursued. […]

SSR WELL Health-Safety Rating Journey: Air and Water Quality – Engineer Required

Improving indoor air quality is a significant driver for improved occupant health outcomes. This was known prior to COVID but has become more apparent since. The WELL Health-Safety Rating has put significant weight on improving the indoor air quality (IAQ) of buildings as part of achieving and maintaining the rating. The following Features are related […]

The Art of Masonry Moisture Control: Considerations for Masonry Exteriors

Introduction to Masonry and Moisture Contrary to popular belief, masonry leaks. This includes brick, CMUs (concrete masonry units aka cinder blocks), and all forms of veneer. Often, it’s the mortar that is to blame and more specifically, its current state of absorption or consistency. In this two-part article, I will cover what happens when you […]

SSR WELL Health-Safety Rating Journey: Keeping Things Going

Reducing occupancy loads, adjusting seating assignments and circulation paths, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer EVERYWHERE! These are all protocols and procedures that facilities began analyzing and implementing in early 2020 to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The WELL Health-Safety Rating has multiple features related to keeping people safe while keeping business going to guide […]

SSR Pursuing WELL Health-Safety Rating

We are excited to announce that, as of January 6, 2021, SSR is enrolled to pursue the WELL Health-Safety Rating for a portfolio of our offices through the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). Office locations included in the Health-Safety Rating submission will cover the majority of our colleagues wherein we have sufficient control of building […]

Unique Systems Commissioned Over the Years

For the last two decades, SSRCx  has been providing commissioning services for different types of buildings and facilities across the United States and around the world. During our 20-plus years of experience, our team of seasoned project managers, engineers, and consultants  have encountered systems that are unique to a specific project. Read on to learn […]

Unique Buildings Commissioned Over the Years

Smith Seckman Reid, Inc.’s (SSR) commissioning division, SSRCx, has been providing consulting services to clients across the United States and around the world for over two decades. During that time we’ve had the privilege of commissioning thousands of facilities, from healthcare to higher education, corrections to community facilities. While no two projects are ever alike, […]

Strategies for High Energy Buildings – Part 2

PART 2 – MANUFACTURING FACILITIES Recall that in the Part 1 of this series (Defining and Identifying High Energy Buildings in the U.S.) we reviewed the current state of the U.S. energy use and environmental impact on a global scale and defined and identified high energy building categories. From that review we determined that manufacturing […]

A new definition of sustainability in the built environment

Integrating occupant wellbeing with resource efficiency In recent years our firm has seen a shift where the green building industry is moving toward “human-centered design”, i.e. integrating occupant health and wellness with energy efficiency in buildings. Rating systems such as WELL™ and FITWEL® focus on improving occupant comfort, health, and productivity through operational and design […]

Strategies for High-Energy Buildings

Part 1: Defining and Identifying High Energy Buildings in the US The architectural and engineering community in the U.S. has engaged in designing energy-efficient buildings and helping building owners optimize energy performance in existing buildings since the American Society for Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) introduced Standard 90.1 – Energy Efficient Design of New […]

Cx Monitor: How Can We Be More Efficient?

Every building owner has to ask themselves that question. It’s inevitable and a long, hard look at the answer can sometimes be what stands between them and significant cost savings. It comes at no surprise that the biggest energy and cost drain is the HVAC system. So, the next question is then, “How much will […]

Cx Monitor: Building Enclosure Commissioning (BECx)

Building enclosure (or envelope) commissioning (BECx) is a process by which the performance of a facility is evaluated and verified against the specific quality requirements of the owner. The commissioning team in charge of BECx is involved throughout the entire project, from the pre-design phase through the operations and maintenance phase. From the start, the […]

Cx Monitor: Commissioning 101

The term “commissioning” is more and more frequently heard in every conversation about building construction, whether it’s new building construction or looking at the performance of an existing building. But what exactly is commissioning? The word has naval beginnings. A ship, especially in wartime, had to be commissioned before it was ready for active duty. […]

Cx Monitor: ASHRAE Standard 209 – Energy Simulation Aided Design for Buildings

| Clark Denson

Building energy modeling has been used for many years to show compliance with local energy codes and to document energy performance-related points in beyond-code rating systems such as LEED® and Green Globes.  When used in this manner, energy modeling is typically seen as a necessary evil – just another box to check at the end […]

Cx Monitor: Changes to LEED v2009

| Hannah Walter

As of April 8, 2016 all projects registered under the LEED v2009 BD+C for New Construction rating system will be required to achieve a minimum 18% reduction in energy cost over ASHRAE 90.1-2007. This is an 8% increase over the previous minimum requirement of 10%. Additional increased energy thresholds apply to other ratings systems as […]

Cx Monitor: Adding Greater Value to our Facilities: M&V and MBCx

| Eric Sheffer

Once a facility is built and fully operational, what assurances does the owner have that the building will perform as intended?  Operational energy performance is a priority for building owners, and as the old adage goes, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Without actionable, systems-level data on energy usage for our facilities, performance decay […]

Cx Monitor: BECx and Energy Efficency

Modern building enclosures are designed and constructed using numerous complex systems and materials.  Combined with demands for quality, durability, schedule, and energy performance, it’s not surprising that the building enclosure represents the majority of building failures and construction defect claims.  Simply defined as a quality-based process implemented to evaluate and verify the owner’s project requirements […]

Cx Monitor: System Documentation for Operations Grows in Breadth and Complexity

Facility owners are becoming more in tune with the fact that 90% of a building’s lifetime cost is tied to operating cost, while only about 10% is dedicated to construction. This realization is driving owners and building professional organizations to compile increasingly sophisticated levels of facility operation and maintenance documentation. The amount of documentation required […]

Cx Monitor: Green Building Codes: A New Unifying Standard

| Eric Sheffer

The design and construction industry has made great strides in the past decade towards creating more sustainable and higher performing buildings. Building owners pursue green buildings for many reasons: operational cost effectiveness, marketing, ethics, occupant health, natural resource conservation, among others. Several industry organizations have formulated standards or rating systems to guide the development of […]

Cx Monitor: Why Continuous Commissioning?

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare industry has evolved and will continue to for the foreseeable future. Hospitals have been tasked with becoming more efficient, with fewer resources, and adapt to the new marketplace. However, buildings are decaying, becoming more inefficient, and costing more to operate year-after-year. When buildings and equipment […]

Cx Monitor: Working in the Cloud: Benefits of Building Start

In late spring 2012, SSRCx began utilizing a cloud based database, Building Start, to execute the commissioning process for all new construction projects. Building Start is mobile workflow management software that merges a cloud based project management platform with a mobile, offline workflow and audit trail system. This unique combination allows the assignment and sequencing […]

Cx Monitor: Effective Use of Building Enclosure Mock-ups within the Commissioning Process

The building enclosure (envelope, skin, etc.) represents one of the highest risk elements of construction. Water intrusion, air leakage, and increased energy consumption are common consequences of poorly designed and constructed building enclosure systems.  An effective building enclosure commissioning (BECx) and testing program can reduce these risks along with associated long term effects such as […]

Cx Monitor: LEED v4- Commissioning Changes in the USGBC’s Newest Green Building Rating System

Project teams pursuing certification under the LEED® v4 Building Design and Construction rating system should carefully examine their commissioning process and scope, as the updated rating system includes several new requirements and options for building commissioning. Following is a selection of significant changes in commissioning requirements, based on information currently available within the LEED v4 […]