The CRP process introduction

The Cost Reduction Protocol

If you own or operate a building, or you are planning a new building or major addition, consider the Cost Reduction Protocol (CRP) as a strategy for your project!  If you answer yes to one or more of the following questions, the CRP is for you.

  • Do you want to build a high-performance building at a lower cost than standard construction?
  • Do you want to save energy and have lower operating costs for the life of your building or addition?
  • Do you want your building to be a high-performance, green showcase for your  business?
  1. The first step is for the Owner to commit to taking advantage of what the CRP has to offer and agree with the concept of designing and constructing a more energy efficient building at a lower up-front cost.
  2. The second step is for the Owner to require that the building design meets the following criteria:
    1. The Architect and Mechanical Engineer will actively participate in an integrated design process with the goal of coordinating and optimizing the BE and HVAC system designs to maximize energy performance at the lowest possible construction cost.
    2. Include BE commissioning (BECx) in the design and construction processes.
      1. The Owner agrees that the BECx may be performed by a third party professional, or by a member of the design team with experience and documented success in all aspects of implementing the CRP.
      2. The Owner will give the BECx Agent the authority to enforce the standards established for the project.
  3. The third step is for the Owner to require that:
    1. The Architectural firm will provide its typical BE details and specifications, but will also allow for making adjustments to the details and specifications during the integrated design BE upgrade process.
    2. The BE commissioning agent will guarantee that the final design and the construction will achieve the performance standards that are established for the project.
    3. The Mechanical Engineer will right-size the mechanical system for an aggressive airtightness standard well below the typical Code and ASHRAE standards.  Margins of safety will be set at a maximum of 5%.
    4. The General Contractor or Construction Manager will guarantee that the construction meets the performance standards that are established for the project.

What a building envelope (BE) commissioning agent does to help achieve a high-performance building enclosure

  1. A BE commissioning agent should have experience with the anticipated type of construction and be able to:
    1. Review the CRP requirements and clearly explain to the Owner the commitments that will be necessary for a successful project.
    2. Determine what the minimum code and standards requirements are for the building envelope performance for the project.
    3. Review the architectural plans and specifications and identify each of the BE/HAM components and assemblies (HAM = heat, air, and moisture) in the design.  Identify how the transitions between the components and assemblies are to be made.
    4. Based on these determinations, model the performance of the initial air barrier system design to determine the baseline air leakage rate for the building enclosure. This includes determining the air-leakage rates of each of the building components and assemblies, and assigning a value to the leakage rates for each of the transitions.
    5. Determine that the insulation and the air barrier (AB) components and assemblies will meet the minimum code and standards requirements.
    6. Support the Architect in making any adjustments in the BE design to bring it into compliance with the minimum code and standards requirements.
    7. Determine how the baseline code-compliant building envelope components and assemblies will perform.
    8. Support the design team in developing a budget for the initial design.
    9. Review the initial architectural details and determine where the air leakage will occur.
    10. Support the Mechanical Engineer in determining the baseline energy performance of the initial design.
    11. Suggest a series of BE performance upgrades for consideration by the Mechanical Engineer.
      1. Model higher insulation values for the enclosure components.
      2. Model the air barrier system performance for several airtightness scenarios.
      3. Support the budget development process for each model scenario.
      4. Support the selection of the most cost-effective performance upgrade.
    12. Based on the upgrade scenario selected, establish the airtightness performance standard for the whole project.  This will include a standard for each material and assembly to use in verifying that each component or assembly is constructed according to the design requirements.
    13. Participate in refining the materials and methods required to meet the new air barrier performance standard.
    14. Identify and develop the specifications for the quality assurance protocols necessary to meet the AB standard.  This will include testing the assemblies prior to the installation of finishes to ensure that the final construction will met the airtightness requirements.
    15. Identify and develop the specifications for the specific test methods that will be required to verify compliance with the BE standards.  This may include multi-zone testing and diagnostics if multiple tests are required.
    16. Integrate the changes into the contract documents, including the necessary guarantee requirements to allow the right-sizing of the HVAC systems.
    17. Review the submittals provided by the BE contractors.
    18. Plan and implement the BE kick-off meeting and perform any training required by the BE contractors.
    19. Perform the prescribed BE quality assurance testing and evaluate the performance of the installations.
    20. Work with the BE contractors to develop and/or correct the installation methods to assure performance compliance.
    21. Perform whole-building air barrier testing to verify air leakage compliance.
    22. Certify BE compliance.
    23. Submit maintenance and verification protocols required to assure long-term BE performance.

If these steps are taken, the Owner will:

  • have a high-performance energy efficient building enclosure,
  • have a lower cost facility as the extra costs of the design, commissioning, and energy-efficient materials and assemblies will be more than offset by a major reduction in the cost of the HVAC system,
  • have significantly lower operating costs for the life of the building, and
  • have a much lower environmental impact during the construction and for the life of the building.


Note: If your building has a specialized use or occupancy, additional steps may be required.