ProAVmag

Is Green Getting Tired?

is just a fad and that we all need to get back to business as usual. After deep introspection, even a sustainable AV proponent can understand why people may come to feel this way. But the fact is, mo 9/29/2009 6:44 AM Eastern

Is Green Getting Tired?

is just a fad and that we all need to get back to business as usual. After deep introspection, even a sustainable AV proponent can understand why people may come to feel this way. But the fact is, more and more practioners of green AV are quietly toiling away. Their experiences will demonstrate that this isn't just a fad. PRO AV's Midori Connolly explores.

I have an announcement to make, and you might want to brace yourself. I, Midori Connolly, the girl who is so green her name means green, am suffering from green fatigue. This worrisome condition seems to have set in after I saw yet another roll of "earth-friendly" toilet paper, named thusly for its biodegradable qualities. Pardon me, but isn't all toilet paper biodegradable? Isn't that the point?

Midori Connolly

Upon first realizing that green fatigue might be setting in, I began to wonder: If someone as passionate and dedicated as I am could be feeling this way, how must the rest of the world see the green AV movement?

In conversations, I've increasingly heard from within the AV industry about this "fad" of being green and of a need to get back to business as usual. Never before deterred by skeptics and naysayers, it led me to wonder, "Have I been a zealot?" This feeling of doubt has sparked deep introspection into what green AV is all about. And as I delved deeper into my woeful situation, I began to recognize why I, and apparently others in the industry, have come to feel this way.

It boils down to the sophisticated, eloquent question, "Where's the beef (or the vegan tofu patty)?" A lot of people are excited about greening their businesses and finding new ways of practicing sustainable AV. But we've been lacking the anecdotal meat to whet our ravenous appetites for more information. Where have the leaders been? Who's actually doing this green AV stuff, aside from the same handful we already know about?

Plus, there's a total lack of standards and guidelines. And if there's one thing this industry loves, it's a standard. To date, the U.S. Green Building Council hasn't recognized any innovation points for AV, so there's no precedent to look toward there.

Take heart, nascent movements often start this way. Now that we're in a bit of a conundrum, what can we do? Can we rouse enough energy to advance the green AV movement beyond its prematurely fatigued state? You bet.

Our first action item should be to actually define "green AV." At a recent presentation on green staging, I defined green AV staging as "a collective movement, a collection of AV professionals using sustainable materials and best practices to fulfill their obligations to society and the environment while improving the profitability of a meeting or event." Certainly this could be applied to integration, design, or any other aspect of AV by tweaking the words slightly.

But we must acknowledge that it's not one person, or even a few people, making the change. Before anything, we must recognize the need for solidarity. As I've always said, we're not trying to save "the" environment; it's "our" environment. We need to band together and promise not to attack (those leading the movement) or feel attacked (as those who are just beginning to adapt). There can't be a greener-than-thou approach to sustainable AV.



1 2 Next

Is Green Getting Tired?

is just a fad and that we all need to get back to business as usual. After deep introspection, even a sustainable AV proponent can understand why people may come to feel this way. But the fact is, more and more practioners of green AV are quietly toiling away. Their experiences will demonstrate that this isn't just a fad. PRO AV's Midori Connolly explores.

We also need to prepare for standards. Over the course of the past year, a team of volunteers spent hundreds of hours developing a new set of international standards for green meetings and events. For the first time in history, AV is now a consideration when planning a green event. The first draft of standards is undergoing peer review through the Convention Industry Council's Accepted Practices Exchange. In October, the revised standards will be submitted to the ASTM International's subcommittee for sustainability, with final ASTM approval expected by December. While these standards are focused on rental and staging, they offer a solid jumping-off point for the overall industry. Who are rental and staging pros if not AV practitioners?

Recent conversations on InfoComm's Green AV online forum have centered largely on the desire for some form of standards and certification for manufacturers and their products. In an attempt to address these requests, InfoComm's Green AV Task Force and John Fuchs of the InfoComm iQ manufacturer database have teamed up to determine how to provide manufacturers with a platform for educating AV professionals on what, if anything, is green about their products and/or organizations. While not a certification of any type, it at least offers a one-to-many means for a manufacturer to communicate any steps it has taken to improve its sustainability.

Rubber, Meet Road

Taking these developments into account, I feel reassured. Progress is being made. But one nagging question remains: "Is anyone else doing anything green?" Casting around, a few silent leaders are beginning to emerge, such as Audio Video Systems (AVS) in Chantilly, Va. The integrator's green plan includes a new LEED-certified headquarters, which may prove to be the easy part. AVS's green leader Allan Childers explains that the company's adoption of green processes and procedures entails a long-term plan, implemented in phases. Childers' grassroots team has buy-in from company leaders after studying green AV and concluding there's not only a business case for sustainability, but also a clear set of values that's in line with AVS's own corporate values. (The company's owner also owns an organic farm.)

And what's happening at AVS is taking place at other AV firms. In April, I stood on a stage and declared that in five years, "green" as a label will be gone because green businesses will be like any other business. And therein lies the answer to my nagging green doubt. The fact is, we have data that justifies sustainability in business. We have a government that's supporting-or even mandating-a new green economy. We still may be on our way to solid standards, but what feels like stagnation today is just the quiet while green AV practitioners toil away at implementation, focused on long-term results. From their work will come the best practices and tangible results, until one day earth-friendly toilet paper is just toilet paper, and green AV is just AV.

Midori Connolly is CEO of Pulse Staging and Events in San Diego, a member of the Green Meeting Industry Council, a corporate social responsibility trainer for Meeting Professionals International, and an InfoComm lecturer on green AV topics.



Want to read more stories like this?
Get our Free Newsletter Here!
Past Issues
June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014