Benefits of Integrating Multiple Buildings into a Single BAS

A large commercial building complex can benefit greatly from a multi-building BAS integration.

Properly executed building automation systems deliver measurable savings and efficiencies within a single building, but do these gains extend to larger corporate campuses and complexes?

When it comes to building automation systems (BASs), going big can deliver big benefits. Multi-building BAS integration can deliver savings, efficiencies, and improved occupancy comfort and convenience at scale, but only if your implementation is professionally rolled out, integrated, and maintained.

In this blog, we look at what a BAS is and the advantages it delivers when used to integrate systems in a single building. We’ll then explore how these benefits can go beyond the walls to multiple buildings on your property.

We’ll also go over some potential challenges of scaling your BAS, and why getting help from an experienced equipment supplier and installation professional can help ensure you’re able to unlock the benefits of a multi-building BAS integration

What is a Building Automation System (BAS)? 

An integrated BAS allows monitoring and control of multiple building operations like HVAC, lighting, security, water management, and more to be managed through a single centralized platform.

A well-implemented BAS enables the operation of these energy-hungry systems to be coordinated. This prevents demand spikes and takes advantage of off-peak rates, delivering significant savings.

A BAS lowers operation costs by making maintenance simpler and more predictable. It also makes your building a safer, more comfortable, and more convenient place for your tenants. When combined with data analytical tools and machine learning, it can provide key insights into building operations that deliver long-term value for you, your owners, and investors.

Benefits of Multi-Building BAS Integrations

Integrating multiple systems into a BAS in a single building offers clear gains, but do these advantages deliver the same savings and longer-term ROI when rolled out across separate and potentially very different locations in the same complex or campus?

Let’s start by taking a look at some of the specific benefits you should expect from a well-planned multi-building BAS integration.

1. Streamlined Operations

Integrating two or more buildings into a single BAS helps to simplify environmental management. As a facility manager, you can access and control systems across all buildings from one platform with a single sign-on.

You and your team will no longer need to be physically present in a building to manage, optimize, or troubleshoot systems there, streamlining tasks and saving you significant hours.

2. Enhanced Energy Efficiency

With a unified multi-building installation, energy usage across different facilities can be monitored and compared. You can spot inefficiencies and roll out energy-saving measures tailored to each building’s needs.

Dynamic management of lighting and environmental controls across more square feet lets you supercharge savings and build on synergies in how separate buildings are managed and used. Better benchmarking improves performance management and efficiency goal setting, leading to a safer, more cost-efficient, and more sustainable campus.

3. Reduced Maintenance Costs

Bringing more buildings under the same BAS umbrella allows your maintenance staff to quickly identify and address issues from a single interface, limiting time-consuming troubleshooting and reducing the need to check systems in each building manually. Fewer tickets can mean significant savings on your labor bill.

Better, more integrated systems also make it easier to predict and schedule maintenance ahead of time based on equipment run-time and recommended service intervals. This also makes it possible to spot potential issues before they become problems.

A good multi-building BAS implementation should also reduce the number of separate vendors supplying your system and improve integrations between the vendors you use. This simplifies problem-solving and makes maintenance and repairs quicker and easier.

4. Centralized Control and Monitoring

The ability to monitor and control BAS performance in multi-buildings comes with other advantages too. Security, in particular, benefits from centralized access control and management from a single control room and better real-time awareness. This helps protect your property and makes it a safer, more pleasant place for your occupants.

A unified BAS system also gathers data from multiple buildings in one place, allowing you to apply data analysis tools at scale to analyze performance, identify trends, and spot potential synergies and savings. That means better planning and decision-making and a better return on investment for all your stakeholders.

Multi-Building BAS Integrations: Potential Challenges

That said, scaling up a single-building BAS and connecting several facilities into one system does have some potential problems. These include:

  • Multiple vendors: Integrating automation networks in two or more buildings can be difficult if the same systems have different vendors, or if multiple vendors provide the same service provided by a single provider in your existing BAS. This can be a particular challenge if these vendors each use their own proprietary digital operating systems.
  • Legacy System: These potential problems can become more challenging if the existing equipment includes legacy equipment, which sometimes involves outdated protocols or drivers, or proprietary systems that are no longer supported by the manufacturer.

Multi-Building BAS Integrations: Mitigation Strategies

Fortunately, there are clear strategies that experienced equipment and integration specialists can use to overcome these barriers. These include:

  • Mandate standards: For new equipment, work with a single equipment supplier to mandate unified interoperability standards to be rolled out across all locations. Ideally, make use of open source standards like BACnet, which make integration, upgrades, and backward compatibility easier to manage.
  • Incremental upgrades: For complex campus integrations or where legacy equipment is present, avoid rolling out a full integration all at once. Instead, use incremental upgrades to increase interoperability and ensure mandate compliance over time. In many cases, a phased approach will be more cost-effective and easier to implement.
  • Work with a Reliable Provider: Many suppliers will simply tear out your existing equipment and replace it with their own — at a price. For multi-building BAS installations, especially those with an existing automation backbone, it’s critical to work with a supplier who can integrate legacy systems with cutting-edge automation technology.

Conexus: Your Multi-Building BAS Partner

We’ve seen the clear benefits of integrating multiple buildings into a single BAS, but only if you can integrate the latest technology with your existing automation “backbone” and legacy control systems.

Conexus is a supplier of leading brand control equipment and an expert on BAS installation, integration, and optimization. Our company is built on an enduring commitment to open-source systems that deliver maximum interoperability and long-term compatibility.

We’ve delivered complex BAS integrations for properties of all types and sizes. Talk to us about your multi-building BAS integration challenges. As a full-service equipment provider and installer, our knowledgeable team offers the in-depth knowledge, equipment, and ongoing support you need to reap all the advantages of your multi-building BAS implementation.

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