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Tom Poeling Receives a 2021 BCxA Benner Award

Oct 15, 2021

U.S. Engineering

Congratulations to Tom Poeling, Project Support Director for U.S. Engineering Construction, for receiving a 2021 Benner Award. The Building Commissioning Association (BCxA) offers the Benner Award—named for Nancy Benner, a pioneer in the advancement of commissioning—annually to recognize outstanding achievement in making building commissioning “business as usual.” Poeling was chosen for a Benner this year in part because of his work leading two projects benefitting building owners and commissioning providers: a 2018 commissioning cost/benefit analysis and helping develop the new BCxA Advocacy Committee, which has produced influential industry documents.

Tom Poeling, holding the Benner Award, alongside past Benner recipients: (left to right) Kent Barber, Gretchen Coleman, and Craig Hawkins, all founding members of the BCxA

Poeling is one of two 2021 Benning Award recipients who were honored at the BCXA’s annual conference on October 7, 2021. The other is the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), with which Poeling collaborated on the 2018 cost/benefit study. Reflecting on the award, Poeling notes, “I have attended BCxA conferences for almost 15 years, and the Benner Award presentation is always a highlight. For me to receive the award this year is truly a humbling experience.” He goes on to say, “I am very proud of the work that the Building Commissioning Association does to promote building commissioning and building performance, and I’m very excited about what we have accomplished together. I want to thank U.S. Engineering for their support over the past 8 years for non-profit organizations such as the BCxA.”

Poeling has played an integral role in the BCxA for years, and his colleagues there appreciate his efforts, commenting that he is “a true master of bringing order to chaos” and that “his intellect is only matched by his snarky sense of humor and his tireless energy for problem-solving.”

Click here to read more about the work Poeling does at U.S. Engineering Construction, and read the BCxA’s press release about this years’ Benner Award below.

Building Commissioning Association Awards the Benner Award to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Tom Poeling, PE, CEM, CCP U.S. Engineering

Toronto, ON, CANADA, October 7, 2021—The Building Commissioning Association (BCxA) has awarded the 2021 Benner Awards.

Today at the Building Commissioning Association (BCxA) Annual Conference Executive Director Liz Fischer presented this year’s Benner Award.  The award is named after a pioneer in the advancement of commissioning — Ms. Nancy Benner.

We recognize an organization leading the way with research and analysis. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) has been a champion of commissioning for more than 28 years.

Starting with the report entitled, “The Need for Improved Commissioning of Energy Efficiency Measures in Commercial Buildings” in 1993, lead author Mary Ann Piette presented at the first year of this conference. But in fact, recognition of commissioning as an interlinking process goes back to 1985 when Mary Ann Piette started a 7-year program, “Energy Edge,” with the Bonneville Power Administration to study the efficiency of new building performance. Twenty-eight commercial buildings were designed and constructed to use 30% less electricity than a hypothetical simulated baseline building.

Unfortunately, only 6 of the 18 projects met the target cost-of-conserved-energy for the total package of measures. This study recognized the value of commissioning, stating, “Savings also would have been greater if commissioning had been included within the program.”  That recognition led to the creation of this conference and the Building Commissioning Association.

The LBNL commissioning studies most frequently cited and recognized today are:

“The Cost-Effectiveness of Commercial Buildings Commissioning: A Meta-Analysis of Existing Buildings and New Construction in the United States,” 2004, lead author Dr. Evan Mills

“A Golden Opportunity for Reducing Energy Cost and Greenhouse Gas Emissions.” 2009, lead author Dr. Evan Mills

“2018 Commissioning Cost/Benefit Study,” lead author Dr. Jessica Granderson with Eliot Crow, in partnership with the BCxA

“Building Commissioning Costs and Savings Across Three Decades and 1,500 North American Buildings.” Energy and Buildings 227.110408 (2020). lead author Eliot Crow, in partnership with the BCxA.

Our second recipient is a well-known BCxA member for his dedication to our Association and his tireless work to promote the value of commissioning. His colleagues are quoted as saying, “a true master of bringing order to chaos,” a great skill in the commissioning world. And “His intellect is only matched by his snarky sense of humor and his tireless energy for problem-solving.”

He was the BCxA’s lead on two major projects that have advanced commissioning for the benefit of building owners and commissioning providers alike. The first was his work with LBNL on the 2018 Commissioning Cost/Benefit Study. As his colleagues stated, “he pushed this project through with unstoppable enthusiasm and desire to update the excellent work of LBNL.” 

His second was developing and leading the new BCxA Advocacy Committee which produced industry documents that define and illustrate “Third Party Commissioning,” and created a “Regulatory Updates” section of our website that members can use as a resource for local building codes and laws.

He has experience both as a commissioning provider and contractor. He has worked tirelessly to promote commissioning and take on the toughest challenges, which many others would have avoided.

Congratulations to Tom Poeling, this year’s recipient of the individual Benner Award.

To learn more about BCxA’s award programs, please visit

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