Understanding the hierarchy of locations


In this article you're going to understand the hierarchy of locations on the EM platform.

This article includes the following sections:


The EM Platform provides a powerful tool for multi-location projects in which you want to keep a logical structure and have indicators by area quickly and efficiently.

The platform allows organizing locations by hierarchical or geographical criteria. Therefore, this allows analyzing your locations in a more detailed manner, for instance adding the energy consumption of electricity, gas, water ... To go back to the basics related to the locations, check out our article: What is a location?

Elements of the hierarchy

The schema of the hierarchy in the platform is the following. We have 4 different elements explained below. 



  • Global: the root of the project
  • Zone: sublevel. It might represent a hierarchical zone or a geographical area (Europe, Spain, University Campus...)
  • Location: the platform's main logical unit. Depending on your account, a location can be a single office, a building, a factory, an airport, etc.
  • Sublocation: one step below the location. It represents one region of the location, for example: a  floor, a room, a zone of a building, etc

Depending on the element you create, you will be able to configure different things. The following table indicates the different possibilities that the elements can have:



Golden rules about the hierarchy of locations 

These golden rules about the hierarchy of locations should be taken into account before the hierarchy structure is decided.

  • Devices can only be associated with one element (root, zone, location or sublocation).
  • Several reports are configured through reference meters in certain locations. This means that only one device in that location or sublocation is going to be included in the report.
  • Ratios (or KPI) are applied to locations or sublocations. The ratios affect ALL the devices in that location or sublocation. 
  • Tags can only be applied to locations and sub-locations, so if you feel you will need them to benchmark your portfolio, take it into account!

The heritage concept

The heritage concept is the most important golden rule and should be the main reason to define how you will organise your hierarchy of locations. 

If you assign a device to a zone, the locations and sublocations below it will inherit the device assigned to that zone. Or if you assign a device to a location, it will appear also in the sublocations below. That will help to configure the projects quicker. For example, if some of your buildings are located in the same city, you can assign the devices from "Outdoor weather station" to the "Zone" (which represents the city), so all the locations below will inherit the corresponding weather device. So you just need to assign it once instead of configuring it in each location.

The heritage concept will be applied in all the configuration and visualisation menus. For example, if you are configuring the reference meters of a Sublocation, you will be able to select the devices which are in the location above. And if you are representing a graph, you will be able to display all the devices that are in the location above as well.



Following an example:


- If the element of the hierarchy Sublocation 1 was chosen, the devices assigned to Test, Zone 1, Location 1, Sublocation 1 and Sub-Sublocation 1 would be the ones available. 

- If the element of the hierarchy Location 2 was chosen, the devices assigned to Test and Location 2 would be the ones available.  

- If the element of the hierarchy Test was chosen, ALL the devices in the account would be the ones available.


Configuration of a hierarchy of locations

In order to view the hierarchy tree, you should go to Settings > Locations > and click on the "Hierarchy tree" button. Here you can drag and drop the zones, locations and sublocations to the desired path. Just select the element and move it to the final element. 

View of the hierarchy of locations

You can visualise your account from a desired point of the tree. Thus, you can select each location quickly with the tool located on the top of the screen. In order to learn more about filtering tools while navigating through the platform, click here.


Examples of different hierarchies of locations

In this section, there are three different examples:

  1. Utilities or companies working in several areas/countries
  2. Companies following tenant billing strategies
  3. Companies with several business units or building typologies


Example 1 - Utilities or companies working in several areas/countriesdexma-hierarchy-05.png

In this example, the first level of hierarchy corresponds to countries and the second level of hierarchy corresponds to cities, both being zones (in green). The following level in the hierarchy would be locations and would represent a building in that specific city (in yellow). In the example, there are two types of buildings: schools and hospitals, which have been tagged as such in each location configuration:


This distribution allows the comparison of buildings in the same region in both reports and dashboards. Moreover, it allows a report to be created for each specific location automatically.

Selecting the country level in the hierarchy limits the analysis to those devices that are within the zones and locations under that country:


The tags also allow to filter the devices in the analysis screens by type of building:


Furthermore, the hierarchy of locations and tags can be used to analyse multiple devices in Advance Analytics, by aggregating the consumptions for all the locations under a hierarchy level, or to add only the consumption of those locations with a given tag.


Example 2 - Companies following tenant billing strategies


For tenant billing, the proposal for a hierarchy of locations would be to use as the first level of the hierarchy cities (if the company works in several cities); as the second level of hierarchy buildings, both being zones.

The following level in the hierarchy would be locations and would represent an apartment in that specific building. In case parts of the apartment (like different rooms) were also of interest, they could be represented by sub-locations, and would become the last elements of the hierarchy.

This way, the consumption of each area inside the apartment could be analysed, and the buildings could be aggregated geographically.


Example 3 - Companies with several business units or building typologies

In this case, it would be interesting to analyse each of the business units. If necessary, also establish a differentiation between cities. Translating it into the hierarchy of locations, it should be organised as follows:


Through this organisation, the buildings could be easily aggregated by area and building type, which would ease the identification of consumptions out of normality. 

The additional use of tags would help even more to customise the analysis. 

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