Building Re-tuning


Building Re-tuning (BRT), originally developed by the Pacific Northwest National Lab, is a protocol for energy optimization and monitoring to improve building performance. BPL is proud to be a partner with PNNL in broadening its reach in the NYC market.

The concept behind BRT is that just as a car owner would periodically “tune up”  an automobile, facility managers can likewise “tune up” buildings for optimal and consistent performance. Most large commercial buildings use sophisticated building management and control systems (BAS/BMS) to manage HVAC and other building systems.  Using trend-log data collected from the BAS, BRT allows users to identify operational problems that are causing energy waste by graphing actual operational data and comparing it against expected or previous conditions.  This makes it possible to get a clearer sense of how the facility is performing “behind the scenes” — almost like looking at an x-ray of the building.

BRT emphasizes low-cost and no-cost operational improvements – most of these are implemented through the building control system at no cost other than the labor required to perform the re-tuning process, and may also include minor repairs such as replacing faulty sensors. Small improvements such as these can lead in some cases to energy savings of up to 20% – visit the PNNL Building Re-tuning website to read more, or click on the links below to read case studies about how these facilities have achieved significant energy savings through BRT:

Course Overview

The CUNY BPL’s BRT training provides 15 hours of classroom instruction plus a facility-based project, and is aimed at advanced building operations and management professionals, energy managers, energy service providers, and others in related fields.  Course topics include:

  • Objectives and implementation of the Building Re-tuning process
  • Identifying systems for re-tuning and the associated data requirements
  • Setting up trend logs and graphical plots
  • Learning how to interpret graphical representations to diagnose common system operating faults
  • Planning for a long-term building operations improvement process

The facility-based project focuses on implementation of an actual re-tuning process in the participants’ buildings, with corresponding weekly assignments that walk students through the process step by step. In order to complete the final project and be able to gain the most from the course, it is strongly suggested that participants should have access to a BAS or otherwise be able to obtain BAS trend log data.  For participants who may not have a lot of experience using their facility’s BAS, the CUNY BPL’s BRT Internship Program can provide support to participants in obtaining trend log data.

Learn more about the course in a recorded webinar presented by Paul Reale, BPL Senior Technology Project Manager – and resident BRT expert.
Continuing Education Credits

The BRT training was recently approved to provide continuing education credits/hours for the following:

  • 15 Maintenance Points for renewal of the BOC credential
  • 15 Professional Development Hours (PDHs) for PE’s
  • 15 GBCI Continuing Education Hours (CEs) for LEED AP’s
  • 15 Continuing Professional Development (CPDs) for BOMI graduates

The History of Building Re-tuning


Building Re-tuning was originally developed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) with the support of the State of Washington in order to address widespread energy waste in commercial HVAC systems.  The CUNY BPL has been working with PNNL since 2011 to help expand BRT in the NYC market through trainings, curriculum expansion, and technical support.  Visit PNNL’s BRT website.

BRT is gaining traction in the national market as well – BOMA International is actively supporting and promoting BRT training for its membership, and BRT is an integral part of the federal Better Buildings Alliance/Better Buildings Challenge, an initiative to promote best-in-class energy efficiency practices among market leaders in the commercial and institutional real estate sectors.  Interested in learning more?  Visit the DOE’s Better Buildings Alliance page or further information about BOMA’s BRT activities.