STEP Explained: Part 2 of 5 By Scott Walker, CTS-D, LEED AP The InfoComm AV Sustainability Rating System Task Force is continuing to make progress on the development of the Sustainable Technology Environments Program (STEPSM) Rating System. This article is the second of a five-part series outlining the five phases of a STEP project. Part 1 detailed the credits in program phase. This month’s article focuses on the architectural and infrastructure design phase. The best AV systems exist in harmony with their architectural environments to create truly integrated solutions. As such, the marriage of sustainable technology and green architecture is at the heart of STEP’s Architecture and Infrastructure Phase credits. Credit AI1: Conduct a STEP phase transition review. Projects don’t manage themselves, and STEP projects will be no exception. As a project moves from program phase through architectural design, new team members will need to join the sustainability conversation. For Credit AI1 the STEP administrator would apprise the project team of the goals set and achieved during program phase, and establish roles and responsibilities for earning credits related to technology infrastructure during the various architectural design phases of the project. Credit AI2: Reduce paper use by disseminating all major design deliverables electronically. Credit AI2 leverages the paperless delivery process set up in program phase to transfer information electronically through schematic design, design development, and base building contract documents phases. On many large projects, paperless delivery is already the norm, and this credit would be a “gimme” point. However, small to medium-sized projects dominate the AV landscape, so the adoption of a paperless process encourages a more efficient and sustainable delivery model, particularly on projects where multiple parties (owner, construction manager, architect, engineers, etc) must be copied on all design submissions. Credit AI3: Employ design strategies to optimize infrastructure for sustainability. Have you ever worked on a renovation project where you removed a floor tile in an access floor or pushed out a ceiling tile to assess your cable pathways only be confronted by a glut of “legacy” cabling from bygone technology eras? Credit AI3 aims to reduce the environmental footprint of an uncoordinated and over-designed cabling infrastructure. Within this credit the designer will identify and employ (with justification) design strategies such as using fiber-optic cabling, unshielded-twisted pair cabling, or audio/video over IP to reduce the amount of conduit, raceway and overall cabling within the design. Credit AI4: Coordinate mechanical / HVAC / AirCon requirements. In most buildings, the single largest consumer of energy is the mechanical system used to heat and cool the building. In technology-intensive projects the cooling requirements associated with keeping electronics at a proper operating temperature can be significant. Often, heat loads for electronic systems are overstated due to a lack of rigor or an overly conservative design approach, which results in mechanical system overdesign and wasted energy. This credit awards points for accurately calculating equipment heat load data using realistic duty cycles and hours of operation and coordinating the resulting HVAC requirements with project mechanical engineer. Additionally, since part of sustainability is getting the greatest useful life possible out of equipment, and since not all AV equipment lives in conditioned rack rooms, the designer must also coordinate millwork/furniture heat dissipation issues with the architect or interior designer where applicable. Credit AI5: Coordinate electrical requirements for energy use reduction. As with heat loads calculations in AI4, calculating accurate power loads for electronic systems can reduce the size of transformers and the overall number of circuits required to power systems. This credit awards points for accurately calculating power draw based on hours of use and realistic duty cycles and coordinating these requirements with the project electrical engineer. Credit AI6: List existing/reclaimed infrastructure items being employed in the base building design. For renovation projects, existing infrastructure can often be reused within the new design. To earn this credit, the designer must survey the site and itemize technology infrastructure products for reuse; items for reuse would include equipment racks, mounts, speaker back cans, wall boxes, floor boxes, conduit, cable trays, cabling, power outlets, etc. Credit AI7: Specify GreenGuard certified products for all applicable products within the technology scope. STEP is intended to complement, not compete, with LEED. LEED has a well-established GreenGuard product credit. This credit mimics LEED’s requirements and awards points for the specification of GreenGuard-applicable products — such as screens, whiteboards and shades — within the technology scope. Credit AI8, AI9 and AI10: The Integrated Building Technology (IBT) Credits. A building in which disparate, but related, technology systems are fully integrated can be both green and intelligent. For instance, shouldn’t room scheduling software, occupancy sensors, lighting systems, shade systems and thermostats all work together to promote daylight harvesting and minimize HVAC energy use? It seems intuitive and obvious; however, when four different entities within the design team specify these systems, information silos are often created, resulting in buildings not optimized for energy efficiency. This trio of credits awards points for specifying shared hardware elements (sensors, control interfaces, servers, etc) among various building systems (Credit AI8), for specifying software elements (scheduling software, human “presence” data) to minimize building energy consumption (Credit SI9), and for the creation of a design brief by the IBT project manager (Credit AI10) to outline the operation efficiencies of breaking down these silos. Credit AI11: Reduce carbon impact of the project team through travel reduction. The purpose of this credit is to reduce carbon emissions by reducing project-related travel through the use of conferencing technology. Credit is given if 50 percent or more of all design-team coordination meetings are held virtually. This includes the use of Web-based collaboration software, audio and videoconferencing or telepresence technology, or other virtual meeting tools for project coordination. Credit AI AV1: Specify low-VOC and FSC products for all technology-related furniture and custom millwork. The task force believes most STEP credits could be applied to any type of building technology deployment, not just AV system deployments. However, some credits are more AV-centric than others. Credit AI AV1 calls for the specification of low volatile organic compound (VOC) and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) wood for AV furniture/millwork items such as lecterns, credenzas, and custom tables. Like credit AI7, this credit follows the example set by LEED by awarding points for specifying low-VOC and FSC products. Credit AI AV2: Coordinate InfoComm ANSI standards for lighting of AV and videoconference spaces. GreenAV should not mean bad AV. To the contrary, STEP promotes many of the InfoComm ANSI Performance Standards in the design of high-quality and sustainable AV environments. Green building best practices often clash with AV best practices when it comes to the extensive use of natural and indirect light in green buildings. This credit awards points for the communication of lighting requirements for proper contrast ratios of projected images, as well as proper light level, light quality and color temperature for videoconference/recording spaces. These requirements must be coordinated with the design team to ensure that, for instance, AV equipment specifications (such as the brightness of video projectors and the resultant energy use of those projectors) do not have to compensate for an improper lighting design. (Note: The InfoComm Projected Image Standard and the joint InfoComm/IES Videoconference Lighting Standard are in the latter stages of development and are planned for release in the first half of 2011.) Credit AI AV3: Coordinate the AV system design with the room acoustics, and, where applicable, coordinate the specification of green acoustical products. Similar to the lighting conflicts noted in Credit AI AV2, room acoustics can also suffer in green buildings. In fact, in surveys of green building occupants, despite all the positive aspects of working in a green building, respondents often site poor acoustics as the top negative aspect of their building. The reasons for this are many, including open-ceiling plans, which eliminate the absorption offered by acoustical ceiling tiles, and extensive use of glass, which can reduce speech privacy. This credit awards points for coordinating acoustical requirements with the design team while specifying green acoustical products to meet acoustical criteria. For many AV professionals, the architectural/infrastructure phase tasks called for within STEP are business as usual, and these credits will be easily achievable with minor changes to how we perform these tasks today. However, the task force recognizes that many, if not most, AV projects are small in nature and may not include a formal infrastructure design phase, and we don’t want to restrict STEP to only the large projects. Stay tuned to EcoSystems for more information on how STEP will work for small projects. Scott Walker, CTS-D, LEED® AP, is president and CEO of Waveguide Consulting, a national AV, IT and acoustical consulting firm. Scott is a past president of InfoComm International, and he currently chairs InfoComm’s AV Sustainability Task Force, which is responsible for developing the Sustainable Technology Environments Program (STEPSM) rating system. Scott can be reached at email@example.com
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Planning Your Green Team By Midori Connolly In homage to the admirable work completed by the Infocomm STEP Green AV ratings team, I’d like to take the next few columns to walk through a few “steps” necessary for effectively planning, executing and communicating your sustainability efforts. (For more information on STEP, see last edition of rAVe Green AV and Scott Walker’s article above.) The steps to success for a Sustainability Program are, in order:
- Shout it out!!
- Sustainable Brands
- GRI: Global Reporting Initiative
- Event Sustainability Practitioners
- BSR Blog, the Business of a Better World.
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CEDIA Publishes LED Dimming White Paper The Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA) has published a white paper on the topic of dimming light-emitting diode (LED) lamps. The Dimming LED Lamps document will help electronic systems professionals understand the benefits, limitations, and performance of LED lighting. LED lighting technology is becoming more widely used due to having a longer lifespan, fewer hazards, and increased visual appeal compared to CFLs. This document discusses available lamp types and their characteristics (e.g., dimming range), different power sources (external or internal drivers), and performance, as well as LED dimmers. The Dimming LED Lamps document is the latest in a series of white papers developed by CEDIA’s Technology Council. The paper was created with the help of subject matter experts Amanda Beebe of Lutron, Aussie Kizirian of Interior Technologies, and Ken Byrd of Cree. CEDIA’s Technology Council works to help CEDIA members identify opportunities surrounding emerging and future technologies. The white paper is available through the CEDIA Marketplace at www.cedia.org/marketplace as well as on CEDIA Crosspoint at http://www.cediacrosspoint.com. The document is free of charge for CEDIA members and is priced at $9.99 for non-members.
Men and 55+ Age Group Skeptical of Green Movement The most recent findings from Crowd Science’s Just Ask! opinion survey show that men are nearly twice as likely to believe that shopping ‘green’ makes no difference. The study shows that 19 percent of men vs. 10 percent of women hold this view. Similarly those over the age of 55 are much more likely than those younger (25 percent vs. 13 percent) to hold this same belief. Men are also much less likely to check that their purchases come from ‘ethical’ companies than women (30 percent vs. 42 percent) and twice as likely to believe that the green movement is just a marketing ploy (16 percent vs. 8 percent). The survey, fielded between Oct. 20-27, 2010, reveals that education also plays a key role in understanding green behavior, as 21 percent of those with a post-graduate education will pay substantially more for green products as opposed to 12 percent of those with a basic undergraduate background or less. At a more general level, the study found that many people exhibit ethical behavior in the shopping action:
- 43 percent have boycotted products for political/ethical reasons
- 34 percent always buy local when given the choice
- 20 percent always choose products with green packaging
AT&T’s Zero Draw Power Supplies Mobile phone users probably don’t know it, but a charger left plugged into a wall wastes electricity — enough to power 24,000 homes for a year, or brew three to four million cups of coffee each day. This month AT&T and Superior Communications announced the AT&T ZERO charger. In AT&T stores nationwide now, the AT&T ZERO Charger does not waste power when left plugged in, and improves charging efficiency when powering a device. The AT&T ZERO Charger will also make life easier for customers, with a ‘block and cable’ design for maximum interchangeability, allowing them to use the same charger for future handsets and will, over time, cut the number of chargers produced, thus reducing future landfill waste. Interested? Go here: http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-phone-service/cell-phone-sales/promotion/zero.jsp
Sharp Debuts 60″ Energy Star Qualified HDTV The new PN-L601B is Sharp’s newest 60” LCD and its touch screen. An ENERGY STAR-qualified, native 1080p monitor, the PN-L601B has Sharp’s UV2A photo alignment and Full Array LED backlight technologies. It uses an infrared detection system, which uses multiple infrared sensors to pinpoint the location of the user’s onscreen finger or touch pen movements to, according to Sharp, virtually eliminate the perception of misalignment. Sharp developed intuitive pen software specifically for the PN-L601B with a user-friendly interface that enables the selection of pen colors and eraser functions with a click of the touch pen button. Once images are displayed on the screen, users can draw directly on them with a touch pen or their finger to quickly make notes and reference marks. These images, with notations, can then be saved as a file on a PC or printed. The monitor has a list price of $13,195 and ships later this month. To download a PDF flyer of the PN-L601B with complete specs, click here.
rAVe to Announce GreenAV Product Ratings System Coming in 2011: GreenPoints We will be issuing guidelines in early 2011 for the AV Industry’s first and only GreenAV product points system. The system, dubbed rAVe GreenPoints, will be an objective ratings system that will have defined parameters for each AV product category (e.g., displays, control, signal routing and distribution, etc.) that will be easy to grade and provide the industry with a product’s rating scale that can be used to not only market AV products to green-conscious clients but also grade “systems.” The GreenPoints system will debut in the first half of 2011 from rAVe Publications.
Well, that’s it for this edition of rAVe GreenAV Edition! Thank you for spending time with us as we muse the industry’s happenings. To continue getting my newsletter, or to sign up a friend, click the link below. To send feedback, don’t reply to this newsletter – instead, write to Publisher Gary Kayye at firstname.lastname@example.org or Editor-in-Chief Sara Abrons at email@example.com A little about Gary Kayye, CTS, founder of rAVe and Kayye Consulting. Gary Kayye, an audiovisual veteran and columnist, began the widely-read KNews, a premier industry newsletter, in the late 1990s, and created the model for and was co-founder of AV Avenue – which later became InfoComm IQ. Kayye Consulting is a company that is committed to furthering the interests and success of dealers, manufacturers, and other companies within the professional audiovisual industry. rAVe Pro Edition launched in February 2003. rAVe Home Edition, co-sponsored by CEDIA, launched in February 2004. rAVe Rental [and Staging] launched in November 2007. rAVe Ed [Education] began publication in May 2008. rAVe DS [Digital Signage] launched in January 2009. This publication, rAVe GreenAV, was launched in August 2010. Subscribe to our newsletters! https://www.ravepubs.com To read more about my background, our staff, and what we do, go to https://www.ravepubs.com
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