Focus on Technology: The Time is Ripe for Green AV

Unless you just arrived on this planet, you know the AEC industry is pursuing ways to conserve energy resources and go “green”. With ten percent of the new economic stimulus package being invested in green projects, the AV industry is positioning itself with smart designs, efficient products and carbon-frugal processes.

Four areas where Green AV plays a role are power utilization, recycling, energy management, and LEED Innovation in Design credits.

Power utilization can get an exception for the “watts per square foot” requirement with video teleconference (VTC) rooms. For example, under California Title 24, provided that the VTC lighting is in addition to and separately switched from general lighting; all lighting is controlled by a multi-scene programmable control system; and the video conference cameras, audio equipment, and playback equipment are permanently installed. Remember that a great VTC room is also a great meeting/presentation room, yet a great meeting/presentation room is not always a great VTC room!

Recycling: Just like computers from our corporate offices, we can pass AV components down to schools and other civic groups. Last year’s projector or odd shaped screen will work well in classrooms and will keep it out of the landfill.

AV control systems can tie into a building’s Energy Management System (EMS) program. Either by telling the Energy Management System that:

– the VTC/ Presentation room is being used so leave the HCAV system and lights on, or

– the room has not been used for the last hour, so turn the AV system and lights off and reduce the cooling requirement.

Finally we get to the Innovation in Design credit. To our knowledge, no one has been awarded an ID credit for AV, but we are working on it! Last year VTC saved us at least 10 coast-to-coast flights (more like 20! – but we’ll start with 10) plus at least 4 meetings with out-of-state clients that accept VTC as a viable meeting method. This saved us between 51,000 and 100,000 miles of air travel corresponding to approximately 10 to 20 tons of CO2 emissions per year (link not working need to find new carbon calculator link). This doesn’t even include the 100 to 200 work hours that were recouped!

This is Part II of a continuing series on Acoustically Integrated aRchitecture (AIR) in the LEED environment and focused on the technology/audiovisual aspects. Please see this blog post for Part I.