Building Re-Tuning (BRT), originally developed by the Pacific Northwest National Lab, is a protocol for energy optimization and monitoring to improve building performance. BRT is an exciting new avenue for the BP Lab and we are 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. BRT is a process for performing “data-driven diagnostics”, using trend-log data collected from the BAS to identify operational problems that are causing energy waste. By graphing actual operational data and comparing it against expected or previous conditions, it is possible to get a sense of how the facility is doing on the inside — 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, but they may also include small, low-cost 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 Retuning website to read more.
The Building Re-Tuning course provides 15 hours of classroom instruction and is aimed at advanced building professionals. The course focuses on implementation of an actual re-tuning process in the participants’ buildings, with corresponding weekly assignments. 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 representations
- Interpreting graphical representations to diagnose common system operating faults
- Planning for a long-term building operations improvement process
The History of Building Re-Tuning
Building Re-Tuning was originally developed by 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 BP Lab 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 Retuning 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 Re-Tuning activities.