Re-tuning Benefits

Re-tuning helps enable:

- Cost-effective facility energy savings (up to 25%)

- Significant cost savings

- Improved building occupant comfort

- An in-house O&M capability that benefits organizations for years.

Re-tuning is a systematic process aimed at minimizing building energy consumption by identifying and correcting operational problems that plague buildings at no-cost or low-cost. Re-tuning relies on building automation system data to identify and implement control improvements at no cost other than the time to program the changes.

These low-cost or no-cost operational improvements ultimately improve the buildings' energy efficiency, reduce operating costs, and improve occupant comfort.

An active energy management program utilizes many practices to reduce energy use. Re-tuning is one practice that has been verified to produce energy savings ranging from 5% to 25% in federal sites. Re-tuning is an effective, low-cost and relatively easy method for reducing building energy use primarily accomplished through the building automation system controls.

The primary steps of re-tuning include:

  1. Basic building information collection
  2. Trend-data collection and analysis
  3. Building walk down
  4. Identify and implement re-tuning actions
  5. Report findings and recommended actions and implementations
  6. Analyze savings
  7. Continued use of re-tuning in operation and maintenance.

Re-tuning Challenge

The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) launched the Re-tuning Challenge in April 2019 to provide selected agencies with a no-cost opportunity to receive re-tuning training and support for a building in their portfolio. 

FEMP's Re-tuning Challenge is pivoting to a remote (from a distance) training with simulation rather than a traditional on-site (physical) re-tuning model. This approach is possible through the use of remote auditing tools, trainings, and resources that potentially replace aspects of the physical walk-through of the facility. These resources include:

  • PNNL Building Re-tuning: Website makes available re-tuning training resources, reports on results of re-tunings, and re-tuning research highlights and updates.
  • Re-tuning Training: Online, interactive training courses covering re-tuning for buildings with or without building automation systems.
  • Building Re-tuning Simulator: Online simulator that is being developed by FEMP in collaboration with the U.S. General Services Administration. This tool will allow users to input building specific data and obtain estimated energy and water outcomes by simulating re-tuning strategies. The expected completion date for this tool is at the last quarter of fiscal year 2022.

The objectives of the Re-tuning Challenge are to:

  • Provide training on how the retuning process is completed or accomplished
  • Enable estimation of outcomes from various re-tuning measure implementations
  • Help sites build the capability to perform re-tuning on their own
  • Train the trainer; encourage trained individuals to help train others in their organization.

FEMP support to the selected federal sites includes:

  • Guidance for re-tuning of one building
  • Re-tuning training for site staff.

The impact of this support will be shared with the federal community through reporting on this webpage and updates to interagency working groups.

In addition to staff at these sites, a limited number of training opportunities are available to other interested individuals who serve in federal building, operations and maintenance, and energy manager roles.

Contact us to learn more about the Re-tuning Challenge.

Re-tuning Challenge Trainings

FEMP held several re-tuning trainings at select sites in 2019. The following table lists these trainings. Trainings at these sites were open to all agencies.

Site Name and Location Agency Dates
Fort Knox Army Base
Fort Knox, Kentucky
Army Sept. 10-12, 2019
Arraj U.S. Courthouse
Denver, Colorado
GSA Oct. 15-17, 2019
Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Salt Lake City, Utah
Veteran Affairs Oct. 29-31, 2019
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, California
NASA Nov. 18-20, 2019

Some of these sites realized (prior to COVID-19) an approximate energy savings of 20%.

Sites that were chosen for on-site re-tuning site visits in 2020 and were not accomplished due to COVID-19 will be candidates for remote re-tuning training. They will be contacted with a new plan of action.

Video Url

Video: FEMP hosted a webinar for federal site personnel on Thursday, April 4, 2019, that provided an overview of the Re-tuning Challenge and the re-tuning process. Download the webinar presentation and transcript.

Video courtesy of the Department of Energy

Key Resources

Recommended FEMP Courses

Need Assistance?

Federal Energy Management Program logo.

Need energy management guidance? Can't find a document or tool? FEMP can help. Ask FEMP a question.