Reporting on a multi-building scale is a benefit and more and more is becoming an essential part of building control and maintenance in order to clearly define usage and allocate resources for the future. “Reporting is the big buzz. You have to be able to track and measure everything, collect data, make usage reports, see how every space is being used,” says Crestron’s Singer. “We can integrate with existing building management systems, such as Honeywell or Siemens. We add a layer on top of it that provides useful information about how spaces are being used.” For example, information is collected on how rooms are used, how long and how often is combined over many buildings. From there, more intelligent predictions can be made for how to plan future spaces with decisions about scheduling, purchasing, building and staffing.
Buildings should be connected if the organization requires company-wide control of lighting, HVAC and other systems. “[If] a client who wants to have information, music for example, among all of their buildings, or who wants an intercom solution that runs across that backbone,” say Control4’s Williams. “If I need to have that kind of system where I’m reliant on control for the entire building or campus of buildings, it makes sense for that inner communication to be centrally located and be one large project with multiple buildings.”
On the other hand, it does not make sense to run multi-building networks for an organization that does not need those things. “If I don’t need intercom access among those buildings or if I don’t need to control the lighting or the HVAC in another building, that’s different,” says Control4’s Williams. The multi-building networking rules can be set up for energy savings while at the same time, all those things can be done per building. “A different energy profile can be set up from one building to another,” says Williams. “As long as I don’t need that system-wide control, there’s no reason to interconnect those buildings. It adds another degree of complexity.”
In some cases, the standalone functionality of each building is adequate for the venue. “If the costs for integration outweigh the cost savings and a reasonable ROI cannot be established