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What is ASHRAE Guideline 0 for Commissioning

The commissioning guideline ASHRAE Guideline-0 is global guideline describing how to perform the commissioning process.

ASHRAE Guideline 0

Icon What is the commissioning guideline?

ASHRAE Guideline 0, officially known as "The Commissioning Process," is a guideline for how to perform commissioning. It has played a crucial role in the standardization of how commissioning is performed globally. The guideline only describes the process on how to perform commissioning, not on how to use commissioning software solutions.

The history of ASHRAE Guideline 0 reflects the growing recognition of the importance of commissioning in ensuring the efficient and effective operation of building systems.

Icon The development of ASHRAE Guideline 0

ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, has a long history of developing standards and guidelines to advance the fields of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration. Recognizing the need for a systematic approach to verify and optimize building systems' performance, ASHRAE began developing Guideline 0 in the late 1990s.

The guideline was first published in 2005, as ASHRAE Guideline 0-2005, and it has since undergone updates and revisions to reflect advancements in technology, industry best practices, and the evolving needs of building owners and operators.

Icon Authors and Contributors to the commissioning guideline

ASHRAE Guideline 0 is the result of collaborative efforts within ASHRAE and contributions from experts in the fields of HVAC, building engineering, and commissioning. ASHRAE's technical committees and working groups played a significant role in drafting and refining the guideline.

The guideline's development involved professionals with expertise in building commissioning, including commissioning authorities, engineers, facility managers, and industry researchers. Their collective knowledge and experience contributed to the comprehensive guidance provided in the document.

Icon Purpose and Objectives of the ASHRAE commissioning guideline

The purpose of ASHRAE Guideline-0 is to provide a standardization and guiding framework for how a commissioning process should be performed. It seeks to help the reader with process descriptions on how the different commissioning tools should be used.

This includes all the standard commissioning activities such as the Owner's Project Requirements (OPR), the Basis of Designs (BoD) and the responsibility of the Commissioning Agent. Besides these tools the appendices in the document provides guidance for various tools and how to implement later on in a project.

Icon What does ASHRAE Guideline 0 include

This section goes into depth on the various topics which are covered in the commissioning guideline.

Definitions and Terminology:

ASHRAE Guideline 0 provides a comprehensive list of definitions and terminology related to the commissioning process. This ensures that all stakeholders have a common understanding of the terms used throughout the commissioning process. Commonly defined terms include "Commissioning," "Retrocommissioning," "Functional Testing," and "Owner's Project Requirements (OPR)."

Commissioning Process Overview:

The guideline outlines the commissioning process from its inception through project completion and occupancy. It emphasizes that commissioning is not just a one-time event but a continuous process that starts during the pre-design phase and continues throughout the building's life cycle.

This guideline is structured over the project phases:

  1. Pre-design Phase
  2. Design Phase
  3. Construction Phase
  4. Occupancy/Occupation Phase
  5. Appendix

Team Organization:

ASHRAE Guideline 0 defines the roles and responsibilities of key team members involved in the commissioning process. This includes the Owner, who is responsible for setting the project requirements; the Commissioning Authority (CxA), who oversees the entire process; the Design Team, which creates the design documents; and the Contractors, who implement the design.


Proper documentation is crucial in the commissioning process. The guideline emphasizes the need for comprehensive documentation, including a Commissioning Plan, Commissioning Specifications, and Commissioning Reports. These documents provide a record of the commissioning activities and help ensure that the project meets its goals.

Systems to be Commissioned and Tested:

ASHRAE Guideline 0 specifies the systems and components that should be included in the commissioning process. This typically includes HVAC systems, electrical systems, plumbing systems, fire protection systems, and any other building systems critical to the project's success.

This section is a key element in scoping the commissioning process. Only the equipment types included here would be included in the commissioning testing process.

Commissioning Authority:

The Commissioning Authority (CxA) plays a pivotal role in the commissioning process. The guideline outlines the qualifications and responsibilities of the CxA, emphasizing their independence from the design and construction teams. The CxA is responsible for planning, coordinating, and verifying all commissioning activities.

Commissioning Plan:

A Commissioning Plan is a fundamental document that outlines the scope, objectives, schedule, and resources required for the commissioning process. It serves as a roadmap for the entire commissioning effort, ensuring that all stakeholders are aligned with the goals and expectations.


This section of the guideline addresses the practical steps involved in executing the commissioning process. It includes activities such as design reviews, functional testing, performance verification, and addressing any deficiencies or issues that arise during the process.


Proper training is essential to ensure that building operators and maintenance staff can effectively operate and maintain the commissioned systems. ASHRAE Guideline 0 stresses the importance of providing comprehensive training to ensure the long-term success of the building systems.

Ongoing Commissioning:

Commissioning doesn't end with project completion. The guideline discusses the concept of ongoing commissioning, which involves continuous monitoring, testing, and maintenance to ensure that the building systems continue to operate at peak efficiency throughout their lifecycle. This helps identify and address performance issues and optimize energy usage.

Icon Alternatives to ASHRAE Guideline 0

ASHRAE Guideline 0 is seen as the global guidelines for how to perform commissioning. When used on projects, either due to LEED Commissioning or client requests, then ASHRAE Standard 202 could be used instead.

ASHRAE Standard 202 also describes the commissioning process, but instead of being a guideline, it is a standard which only includes the absolute minimum requirements for a commissioning process.

For more guidance on how to use both the guideline and the standard, the book "A Practical Guide to the Commissioning Process" will give you all the information and describe how to use the different types of processes and tools.

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