What Can You Contribute to the Green AV Movement?

Just about everything is going green. As more and more consumers become educated about the environment and how to decrease their footprint, green is becoming a successful commodity. In two recently r 5/08/2008 8:00 AM Eastern

What Can You Contribute to the Green AV Movement?

May 8, 2008 12:00 PM, By Jessaca Gutierrez

Green Numbers

Just about everything is going green. As more and more consumers become educated about the environment and how to decrease their footprint, green is becoming a successful commodity. In two recently released studies—one put out by the New Buildings Institute and one by CoStar Group—green-certified buildings outperform non-certified buildings in energy savings, occupancy rates, sales price, and rental rates. Both studies prove green building practices are secure financial investments.

But going green isn't easy. Although clients and consumers are wanting to live and work in an environmentally friendly setting—even if it means paying more up front to save more down the road—the AV industry is still on the cusp of this market. Many integrators and manufacturers are still spinning their wheels to find ways to contribute to the green movement. Some companies have made inroads in how they can contribute to the cause, such as Auralex Acoustics, Draper, Christie Digital, Da-Lite, WireLogic, Liberty Wire & Cable, and Crestron.

"Success thus far has been limited because our dealers don't know enough about how AV products affect the environment," Amy Madden, MBA, CTS, LEED-AP, Draper AV regional manager for Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. "Manufacturers like Draper are just now getting the info to their dealers that allow them to pick and implement product that fits into the 'eco-design,'—projectors or flatscreens that use less energy, screen fabrics that are GreendGuard-certified, control systems that can sense when a system isn't being used, recyclability, the list goes on. We are also just starting to educate the end user market accordingly."

As more and more studies are released that point to the economical success of green approaches, it'll be more compelling for integrators to accept the momentum and value of such practices as more than just a fad. Some integrators are hesitantant to become part of the green AV movement, whether it be for lack of resources and education or its selling power.

"I think that the current state of eco-success in AV is lacking but growing," says Draper Green Buildings Coordinator, Clint Childress, LEED-AP. "It seems that for the longest time, the AV industry has been able to focus on itself outside the scope of the construction or operation within the rest of the building. Green buildings are causing different groups and people to work together who haven't traditional. Despite this AV is just now starting to be pulled into green building discussions where it was not in the past. I think that this lateness to the table is in part because people did not understand green or know how to play a part in it. I've even seen people mention that green was an overused term in AV. I believe strongly to the contrary. AV integrators are in a prime spot to offer products and control of products and system in ways that others are not. These systems could be focused on providing better control over the environment to maximize energy efficiency. They could also focus on off site management so the need to for on-site troubleshooting and travel and downtime are reduced. There are many mores ways, but it takes education and understanding of green to be able to deliver more of an impact."

Next month will mark the one-year anniversary of the tornado that swept through the town of Greensburg, Kan., demolishing almost the entire city. Rebuilding efforts are underway. With the literally clean slate, the city is electing not to just rebuild, but do so thoughtfully, committing itself to a model green community. In December, the city council adopted a resolution that all city buildings greater than 4,000 square feet will be certified LEED Platinum. It's a big step not only for the city, but in LEED standards as well. It's also an example of how far sustainability has come. From hippy to mainstream, green is now a part of everyday thinking.

But the question on every integrators mind, is how do I become a part of conversation and implement it into my everyday practices as well as my installations? It's a daunting question that's getting some attention and thought to find answers.

What Can You Contribute to the Green AV Movement?

May 8, 2008 12:00 PM, By Jessaca Gutierrez

In the April 30, 2008, InfoComm Wavelengths podcasts, InfoComm International Senior Vice President Duffy Wilbert presented a roundtable comprised of Mike Dannenberg, CTS, from Vantage Technology Consulting Group; Jim Hoodlebrink, CTS, Draper; Peter Pekurar of Christie Digital; David Skoog, CTS, of The Sextant Group; and Scott Walker, CTS-D, LEED AP of Waveguide Consulting to discuss green AV. Walker pointed out that the AV industry could be perceived as "anti-green" because the industry consumes lots of energy and doesn't come from a green background. But this industry does have the tools to contribute to the sustainability of a building now that AV has integrated with IT to create smarter, more intelligent building. And its the deployment of systems and products that talk to each other that will be key in being part of the green movement.

A big part of the success of the industry contributing to the green AV movement will rely not only on education but facilitating conversation among architects, manufacturers, and integrators. At InfoComm 08, InfoComm will be hosting LEED 101 for AV professionals to find out more about the LEED rating systems, certification, and getting credits.

Right now, the perceived advantages of green AV designs isn't being embraced by everyone, but the barriers are coming down as the number of educational resources from such world industry leaders such as USGBC, RoHS, and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) increase and people learn the advantage and meaning of systems that conserve the Earth's limited resources and protects her environment—even if it means a high price tag at the onset. The future is green with possibilities as more and more embrace and see the economical and environmental profits to be had from implementing such systems.

"Unfortunately, if a product/process hasn't added profit to a job, eco-design typically wasn't done," Madden says. "This is especially true if the job is a bid driven by lowest price. We have to move beyond price and sell the value of eco-design. The AV industry cannot become green without our customers demanding it—and being willing to pay for it. AV equipment is an investment. We must think of green design in the same mindset."

"Today, integrators when working in a Green AV environment have to deal with natural light, multipurpose space, and the desire of an end user to want to use low-energy items," Childress says. "These basic principles will exist in the future, but you will be required to show baseline calculations and how the work and products that you are using are truly impacting the environment. People will want hard numbers to see. They will also want one to provide more and easier control over environment conditions that effect energy consumptions. Green AV installations are growing as we are now fielding more and more calls about matching up window shades with projections so the right two surfaces are used together. However, how much beyond this part of the install is green is hard to tell."

For up-to-minute industry news on green and sustainability at The Briefing Room. Also check out for expert column, successful green installation articles, and podcasts related to the green AV cause.

Green Numbers

  • 42,000 profession have become LEED-certified in less than 10 years.
  • In 2006 there were 400 LEED-certified buildings; 2007 there were a 1000. Currently, there are 6,000 buildings in the pipeline for LEED certification.
  • There are two federal agencies, 22 states, and 75 cities that require all of their buildings to be LEED certified.

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