Facility Operations Assessment

What is a Facility Operations Assessment?

The Facility Operations Assessment (FOA) is a process for gathering information on the current operational performance of a commercial building and identifying opportunities for improvement. An FOA goes beyond benchmarking to provide a list of potential operational improvements with high return on investment (ROI). An FOA will deliver:

  • Energy benchmarking
  • A list of potential operational improvements
  • An estimate of the savings potential and return on investment (ROI) for operational improvements
  • One of three possible recommendations as to whether to pursue existing building commissioning (EBCx):
    • Pursue comprehensive EBCx
    • Conduct targeted commissioning on one or more systems
    • EBCx not recommended

When—and by whom—can an FOA be used?

Building performance stakeholders can use an FOA in three primary situations:

  1. An owner considering buying a property can request an FOA to determine opportunities for improvement. Performing EBCx after buying a property is an ideal method of reducing operating costs within a short payback period. Reduced operating costs will, in turn, increase property value.
  2. An owner wishing to assess opportunities among their existing buildings can use the FOA as a screening tool before investing in a full EBCx investigation.
  3. An FOA is also ideal for EBCx program managers seeking a streamlined screening process.

Tailored options

An FOA can be performed at two levels of cost and comprehensiveness:

  • Option A: Existing Building Commissioning Feasibility Study is a streamlined, lower cost process that presents cost-effectiveness criteria determined by the Excel-based FOA Cost-Effectiveness Tool. Savings estimates are determined based on average values from a database of EBCx measures, rather than building-specific calculations. The financial analysis is based on historical average metrics and will provide a general range of expected savings and rank potential ROI as high, medium or low.
  • Option B: Existing Building Commissioning Feasibility Study and Cost-Benefit Analysis includes the development of customized (i.e., building-specific), calculated energy savings. Specific measure level costs and savings are estimated and detailed financial metrics are calculated.

Download the FOA toolkit

A comprehensive toolkit is available here for free download, including:

  • FOA Process Manual: This document describes each step of the FOA process, from preparation to final report-out.
  • FOA Checklist: An Excel-based checklist that guides the site walkthrough and data collection phase, providing pointers to potential opportunities.
  • FOA Field Guide: To accompany the FOA Checklist, the Field Guide provides system-by-system guidance on what to look for and explains how data collection ties in to EBCx opportunities.
  • FOA Cost-Effectiveness Tool (Beta): An Excel-based savings estimator that is used for the FOA Existing Building Commissioning Feasibility Study (Option A) to determine savings based on data collected during the site walkthrough.
  • FOA Reporting Templates: Separate templates are provided for Options A and B, comprising an eye-catching summary report and a more detailed backup report that is used to describe data sources and provide supplementary information.

Download the complete toolkit.


Development of the Facility Operations Assessment process was primarily funded through the California Energy Commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program, with additional funding from the California Commissioning Collaborative. Content was developed by PECI, with research support from Heschong Mahone Group and review by a Program Advisory Committee. The California Commissioning Collaborative is grateful for support provided through field pilots, particularly from McClain Consulting Services, Inc., Chelsea Group, and Odic Environmental.