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  • 18.1 Overview
  • 18.2 What to Present
  • 18.3 How to Present the Information
  • 18.4 Industry Examples

The question is not what you look at, but what you see.

—Henry David Thoreau


Buildings can generate a lot of data. Much of the data is collected through building automation systems and their data points, sensors, meters, databases, and measurements. Each of the building systems provide data: HVAC, power management, access control, lighting, life safety, solar panels, structural monitoring, personnel RFID systems, motorized shades, parking guidance systems, and electrical switchable glass.

However, lots of data does not necessarily mean lots of actionable information. Data is raw material. Its real value is being transformed into useful information where some intelligence has been gleaned from analyzing or studying the raw product. The final link in this chain, and probably the most important, is the user interface (UI) or the human-machine interface (HMI), where the actionable information is presented to the person who will act upon the information. For years the user interface was BAS graphics from a building management system typically used repetitively from client to client and generally had few improvements. Today more advanced integrated building management systems use visualization software. This software can take abstract data and develop images that can aid a user in understanding the meaning of the data. Many of the recent building management systems can incorporate popular browser-based dashboards to present information to users. This allows facility management personnel to remotely access data using smartphones and tablets and to present information to users.

What follows are some suggestions and guidelines on creating dashboards for facility and energy management covering what information is needed, how that information should be presented to a user, and a couple of industry examples.

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