STEP Explained: Part 4 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 (STEP) Rating System. Currently, the task force is completing the drafting of detailed credit descriptions that will comprise a STEP reference guide. This reference guide will provide a project team with the instructions necessary to take a project through the entire STEP process from program phase through ongoing operations. Of course, all of this is still a work in progress, and a public review period will begin in the weeks and months ahead. This article is the fourth of a five-part series outlining the five phases of a STEP project. Part 1 detailed the credits in program (P) phase; Part 2 detailed the credits in architectural and infrastructure design (AI) phase; Part 3 detailed the credits in electronic systems design (SD) phase. This month’s article focuses on STEP’s electronic systems integration (SI) phase. LEED was always going to be a struggle for our industry’s integrators and software programmers. LEED is a “first in = greatest impact” deal, and too often systems integrators and software programmers are not at the table early enough to get LEED credits suggested, much less implemented. That’s not the case with STEP. STEP is built on the premise that new team members will be added at each phase, and STEP is all about sustainable technology solutions so there’s plenty for all of us to do. The fourth phase, the Systems Integration Phase, is where our integrators and software programmers take the lead and make their biggest contributions to the sustainability of the project’s technology solutions. (Of course, if the systems integrator is doing a design-build AV project and providing software programming in-house, the integrator could play the role of STEP administrator, designer, integrator, and programmer and have impact all throughout the design and construction process. If that integrator provides full outsourcing of daily operations, they could also play a significant role in operations phase.) Credit SI1: Conduct a STEP phase transition review. As with all the other phases, this phase begins with a transition meeting where the STEP administrator apprises new project team members (likely the systems integration / software programming team if the project is a design-bid-build project) of what credits have been earned to date and which credits are slated for completion in the integration phase. On a D-B-B project, the consultant should have included the credits required by the integration/software team within the bid documents so everyone can factor these costs into their bids and highlight their qualifications to provide these STEP credits within their scope. This kickoff meeting allows the successful team to coordinate exactly how they plan to meet the STEP requirements of the project. Credit SI2: Reduce paper use by releasing submittals, as-build drawings, and owner’s manuals electronically. And there was much joy in the valley. Actually, as we have crafted this credit among the task force writers, we have allowed exemptions where printed shop drawings are required by the owner, architect, GC or others. Some on the task force have commented that real paper copies on a job site might still be a good thing for years to come. Thus, we do allow exceptions for these requirements, but we are trying to keep the number of dead trees to a minimum here. Credit SI3: Recycle Construction Waste. In theory, any systems integrator who has worked on a LEED project has already had to meet this requirement. We are simply reaffirming this requirement within STEP since not all STEP projects will necessarily be LEED projects (but it would be awesome if someday all LEED projects became STEP projects, too!). This credit requires integrators to reuse or recycle recyclable shipping materials, scrap cabling, construction debris, etc. One point is awarded for 50 percent of recyclable waste (by weight) and two points for 75 percent. Credit SI4: Enable power management settings on each applicable piece of equipment. The purpose of this credit is to ensure a regimented approach to the enabling of power management features on all related equipment such as computer monitors, flat-screen displays, projectors, etc. In many instances these power management settings are optional, and much of the time are not enabled as the default, or are disabled during the installation process. When InfoComm’s ANSI Audiovisual Systems Energy-Management Performance Standard is released later this year, I anticipate more equipment manufacturers releasing products with real standby and sleep modes to accommodate this standard and comply with STEP. Credit SI5: Program system to intelligently manage power states to reduce overall energy consumption. I heard Chris Maione, an independent consultant in our industry, coin a term he calls “perceived off,” where the client thinks their AV system is powered down because the display is off, but actually everything else in the rack is still on. This era needs to end. With credit SI5, our industry’s programmers take the lead to author software that will intelligently manage the AV systems’ power states. This credit awards five points for programming intelligent energy management solutions that trigger AV power states based on scheduling software, motion/occupancy sensors and other means while also monitoring, measuring and reporting AV energy consumption to the owner. Credit SI6: Reuse/reclaim equipment, as specified, into new systems. In credit SI6, the designer identifies the specific components of the system that will come from existing owner equipment. Credit SI6 awards three points for the actual integration of that equipment into new systems. Credit SI7: Recycle equipment being replaced by new systems. This is where the real work of ending e-waste as we know it begins. To meet credit SI7, the systems integrator would remove existing equipment from the site and find a second life or recycling center for that equipment. Some integrators might begin to offer this as a value-add to their services and keep their customers from having to wonder what to do with all that old AV gear. Plus, there could be “downstream” customers like a K-12 school that would love to have some heavily discounted 4×3-aspect projectors for their classrooms. This could open new sales avenues for savvy systems integrators during times when many institutional buyers are living with tightened budgets. Credit SI8, SI9, and SI10: The Integrated Building Technology (IBT) Credits. In program phase, we stake out sustainable opportunities. In design phase, we take them from concept to design. Now in integration phase of the project, we actually make them real. These credits award points for doing the real work of integrating disparate building systems into a seamless control environment. Credit SI AV1: Build, test, and program systems off-site in the system integrator’s shop. OK, this is a gimme point and is already an AV industry best practice, but it can also lower carbon emissions to build systems off-site in the shop, where all the test gear, tools, and people already reside. Credit SI AV2: Provide remote testing and verification of system integrator’s shop to review rack build by consultant and owner. Increasingly, the work of AV consultants, integrators and programmers is going national, if not global. If we’re encouraging the building of systems in the shop, let’s also enable remote testing and verification of those systems by the consultant or owner to further reduce travel costs and association carbon emissions. IP cameras in rack-build areas, testing via videoconference and recording/streaming of control system proof of performance can save everyone time and money. Let’s make this practice the new normal and earn some STEP credits while we do. Credit SI AV3: Program and implement the remote management of systems. Our industry’s software programmers can codify another AV best practice with this credit. How many times have we as an industry responded to a service call with a truck roll only to find out the problem was easily discoverable via IP control? Yes, dealing with firewall issues can be the big impediment to the credit becoming a reality in practice, but at least we can program the systems to be remotely manageable and then work with the owner to manage the firewall issues. Making SI AV3 part of the new normal will allow us to be more responsive to our clients when they do have problems and set the table for proactive rather than purely reactive service. Credit SI11: STEP Design and Construction project closeout. All projects should have a closeout meeting where lessons learned can be shared for better performance on the next project. In STEP we award a point for doing it to add more incentive to this general best practice. Note that we envision a two-stage award within a STEP project: one for design and construction and another for ongoing operations. Next month I’ll tackle this final phase of STEP, operations, before returning to my usual monthly potpourri of diatribes, cajoling, and self-deprecating, hard-luck stories. 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 Leave a Comment Share Article
Click here for more information
How to Understand and Capitalize on Sustainability Reporting By Midori Connolly In the interest of not duplicating the excellent work of the guy above me (Scott Walker), I recommend AV companies on the build side consult his column for suggestions on creating your sustainability action plan (Step 2), starting with Infocomm’s STEP rating system. A world-renowned communications expert once said, “Leadership in sustainability is NOT about perfection. But it is all about authenticity.” So what is authenticity and what creates it? Further, one then has to ask why the AV industry has lagged in sustainable leadership. Is it because of a lack of authenticity? Perhaps there are intermittent cases, but for the most part, I don’t think so. In most instances, it surely is because of the lack of a structured plan to implement sustainable practices and then methodically measure and report outcomes, thereby achieving transparency and authenticity for both internal and external stakeholders. As the third step for a successful sustainability plan, companies must instill some type of reporting mechanism. This could range from the formal Global Reporting Framework (GRI) to a custom sustainability report, which is most realistic for a company in the AV industry. The GRI is the most widely used reporting framework in the world. The framework has three levels of reporting, and essentially provides guidelines on what to report and how to report it, taking into consideration the information most relevant to stakeholders. The guidelines are free and available for use by any organization around the world. They only ask that you register your intent to report with them. In addition, if you serve clients who apply the GRI framework, this could be a great business opportunity to support them with If the GRI is not appealing or realistic option for your organization, a custom sustainability report could be another option. The primary components of a sustainability report should include, at a minimum:
- Goals and Objectives: Where do we stand and where do we want to go? Be sure to include your social, economic and environmentally sustainable goals. An AV company might state that they want to implement an employee wellness program or take a role as leaders in their industry.
- Key Performance Indicators (KPI): What are the specific numbers or measurements that will signify you’ve reached your goals? Will it be 25 percent of all employees participating in that wellness program by 2015?
- Performance Report: On a regular, predetermined basis, be sure to calculate your performance and report it – annually, semi-annually or otherwise.
The Other Side of Green By Joel Rollins, CTS rAVe Rental [and Staging] Columnist Well, I had a great round of emails with a number of you after last month’s rAVe Rental [and Staging] issue. Several of you brought up some of our industry’s challenges, and I’d like us to address one of them together today. We talk a lot about the necessity of our industry to go “green.” But we talk about it mostly in terms of energy consumption, and its effect on climate change. It’s the part of “green” that our clients seem most focused on right now, and the one to which we are responding with spec sheets and wattage figures. Manufacturers in our industry have made huge leaps in power efficiency, and we have the equipment stickers to prove it. That may be as “green” as the equipment sales end of the business needs to get, since at the end they don’t have the equipment, the client does – and there will usually be several years before the other half of “green” rears its ugly head. But Ralph Miner of Sound Vision Audio Visual brought up the other half of being environmentally conscious, and one which we in the rental and staging end of the business need to deal with better before clients, especially regular government and corporate clients, begin to ask. Since WE are the holders and end users of the equipment, how do we dispose of it? Our equipment, especially that which is a few years old, is LOADED with toxic chemicals. And used electronics are becoming the “hot potato” of the business. For many years, there was a GREAT way to get rid of it, and it was one of the key things that made the rental business the most profitable (percentage-wise) part of audiovisual. We SOLD it. I can remember the days when four-year-old fully-depreciated equipment could sell for real money… meaning that every piece added nicely to our profit margin when we got rid of it. In fact, the unit’s eventual sale was something we planned for, and even budgeted for. I spent several years as a photographer, briefly professionally, and then the rest of my life (so far) as an avid hobbyist. In the days when I was using real film, I blithely poured thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals DOWN THE DRAIN when I was done with it. It was just what you did, and nobody thought about it very much. In fact, the packaging for some developers contained a warning to flush the drains thoroughly after disposal, to avoid long-term damage to your pipes. One of the biggest things that killed film was the rising price of processing. And A LOT of that rising figure came from the cost of chemical disposal once legislation was passed about it. It drove film processing out of most small labs and into the hands of big national firms who could afford to have the proper disposal methods and equipment. So how will we get rid of equipment and waste, such as batteries, when it’s no longer worth very much when we are done with it, and we can’t pass the cost along to somebody else? I know the owners of a lot of rental companies personally, of course, and I know that the battery issue is still there, even though there are good ways of dealing with it. Our battery manufacturers all have disposal programs, but not all of us take advantage of them, and not all the time. The idea of carefully separating all dead batteries from other refuse, instead of leaving them scattered around the ballroom floor for the clean-up crew to deal with, is one we avoid. We have a battery bucket in the shop, and any we change there go into it, but that hardly accounts for all of them. And most battery compounds are highly toxic, and should be disposed of properly, that is if we want to have Spotted Owls, or people, in the future. And that’s only part of it. Now the issue is used electronics, which contain PCBs, arsenic, toxic metals, and mercury. Ralph points out that even Goodwill won’t take lots of it any more. And as the speed of obsolescence increases, the idea of ever selling it for anything, and passing the disposal problem along to others, is fading fast. I know in my area, at least, even the local landfill (“the dump”) won’t let you dump any electronics that you can’t hide in a trash bag. So what are you doing with it? Any of you dealing with this yet, in any way that makes sense? This is your chance as an industry to head off the next wave of things our clients are going to insist on. Email me any suggestions. This is a great topic for our new blog, and I’ll post the best ones there. rAVe Rental [and Staging] contributor Joel R. Rollins, CTS, is General Manager of Everett Hall Associates, Inc. and is well known throughout the professional AV industry for his contributions to industry training and his extensive background in AV rental, staging and installation. Joel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Leave a Comment Share Article
Cisco and Control4: More Than Collaboration By Bob Snyder Editor, rAVe Europe Last year, we told you about Control4 entering the ProAV market. Earlier this month, Control4 signed a strategic agreement with Cisco to deliver “network-enabled automation platforms for connected smart communities and home energy deployments.” While called a collaboration, the deal is more complicated because Cisco is also investing in Control4. The companies aren’t announcing the size of Cisco’s investment, but Cisco also happens to be the leading investor in Control4’s most recent $15 million funding round. According to an SEC filing, Control4 raised $15 million out of a planned $25 million from three new investors — of which Cisco was one. According to the announcement we received, the collaboration between the two companies allows the integration of Control4 technology into Cisco’s Service Delivery Platform (SDP) and the introduction of Cisco-branded Control4 products. Control4 will become a key member of Cisco’s “ecosystem” in Smart+Connected Communities and utility customers — and deliver on the vision of Smart+Connected Communities and Cisco’s Home Energy Management Solution. Cisco explains the distribution deal as a non-exclusive agreement to provide Control4’s home operating system in projects with cities and utilities. Cisco’s first client is the city of Incheon (South Korea) with connected homes that include Control4 home energy products, as well as Cisco building automation technology and telepresence. Cisco will integrate the Control4 EMS 100 as an element of its offering to global utility customers. The Control4 EMS 100 is a bundled solution with an EC-100 energy controller, a 4.7″ touch-screen with color interface that provides feedback on electricity consumption and costs, Control4 ADVANTAGE software, and a WT-100 ZigBee wireless thermostat. Control4 also announced this month a deal to provide 20,000 home energy devices and software to Nevada utility NV Energy. Control4 calls the deal “the first true rollout — not a pilot — of customer-driven demand response using home area network technologies.” Jesse Berst of SmartGrid News predicted Control4’s attraction in 2009: “Control4’s home energy management offering embodies a lot of great ideas, but above all it is the Trojan horse utilities need. It is something everyday consumers will eagerly invite into their homes, even though “scary” things like energy management and demand response lurk inside. Control4 has packaged energy management as just one more lifestyle application that runs on a device you’d love to have. If you own (or later buy) a Control4-compatible home entertainment system, the same in-home display that programs your thermostat and shows you messages from your utility also becomes a universal remote control on steroids.” It’s the utilities that are drawing Cisco money into the Control4 pot. Bob Snyder is the editor of rAVe Europe. Reach him at email@example.com Leave a Comment Share Article
Philips to Invest Two Billion Euro on Green Tech Last week, Philips announced that it would allocate two billion euro for investments in green technology by 2015. In 2010, Philips’ cumulative investments in green innovation amounted to one billion euro, surpassing its green innovation investment target two years ahead of schedule. As a result of the company’s continued commitment to sustainable innovation, 38 percent of total 2010 sales was generated by Philips Green Products, up from 31 percent in 2009. Notable green product launches in consumer lifestyle included the Econova TV, claimed to be the first PVC/BFR free television in the world, which received both the EU-energy “A+” label, as well as the EISA Best Green TV 2010/2011 award. Leave a Comment Share Article
Sony’s Intelligent Presence Sensor Makes BRAVIA Green The LX900 has an Intelligent Presence Sensor with face detection technology that recognizes when you’re watching the TV or not. Leave the room and don’t come back — and your picture is turned off. Look away from the TV and read the paper — and it will dim the screen. Now that’s a clever way to save energy. Check out this video to understand it: http://www.sony.co.uk/hub/bravia-lcd-televisions/2/5/article/id/1237478936397 Leave a Comment Share Article
Extron Receives UL Accreditation to Self-Certify Safety Tests Extron Electronics announced this month that that Underwriters Laboratories® – UL has awarded its in-house regulatory compliance testing facility with two accreditations: Client Test Data Program – CTDP and Supervised Manufacturer’s Testing – SMT. CTDP was established by Underwriters Laboratories to allow manufacturers to use their own testing facilities to test and certify product samples in support of UL mark certification. SMT accreditation certifies that a manufacturer’s testing laboratory meets ISO standards for operation and recognition of test results generated at that facility. In-house testing allows products to reach the market sooner. The two accreditations awarded to Extron cover standards for Audio Visual IEC/UL 60065 and Information Technology Equipment IEC/UL 60950-1. Additionally, the SMT program entails strict adherence to all ISO 17025:2005 testing and calibration requirements. For more information, go to http://www.extron.com Leave a Comment Share Article
Planar Adds LED-Backlit HD LCD Video Wall Display At ISE this month, Planar showed a new 55-inch, LED-backlit commercial LCD display that’s part of the Clarity Matrix video wall family called the Clarity Matrix 55 for mission critical control room applications and digital signage. It has a narrow image-to-image gap of 5.7 mm and thin profile with a depth of 3.6 inches (93 mm) from the mounting surface. Planar’s EasyAxis Mounting System makes front-serviceability, behind-screen access, individual screen replacement and panel-to-panel alignment quicker and easier. The LED backlight and intelligent power supply automatically shut down if not in use, reducing overall power consumption. To see the video we shot of the Clarity Matrix 55 at ISE 2011, click here: https://www.ravepubs.com/rave2011/index.php?option=com_ravevideo&ravevideo_id=3531&view=ravevideo For more information, go to: http://www.planarcontrolroom.com/lcd-displays/clarity-matrix/ Leave a Comment Share Article
Prysm Now Shipping Laser Phosphor Display Prysm is now shipping its laser phosphor display, which the company showed again at ISE 2011. We thought (along with everyone else at the show) that the product looked much, much better than it did at InfoComm, and is now poised to become a serious digital signage display contender. The laser phosphor display uses an array of lasers to generate an image on an active screen. It’s a tile-based product that can be arranged in a variety of patterns. It only uses 27 watts per tile for power, generates very little heat, and has a very wide viewing angle. To see the video we shot of it at ISE 2011, click here: https://www.ravepubs.com/rave2011/index.php?option=com_ravevideo&ravevideo_id=3826&view=ravevideo&Itemid=243 For more information on the laser phosphor display, go here: http://prysm.com/about_lpd.html Leave a Comment Share Article
Automation Company Niko Adds Energy Management At ISE 2011, European home automation company Niko introduced a brand-new energy management system that monitors electricity, gas, and water usage, and controls heating, cooling, and ventilation. It can determine the cost to power a home, or a single room, and a touch screen shows live or historical energy usage in terms of consumption and cost, as well as a home’s carbon footprint. A company spokesman says that they believe just monitoring energy usage can save a home up to 15 percent. The product is just a concept right now and isn’t on the company’s website yet, but to see a video we shot of it at ISE 2011, click here: <https://www.ravepubs.com/rave2011/index.php?option=com_ravevideo&ravevideo_id=3827&view=ravevideo&Itemid=243 For more information on Niko, click here: http://www.niko.be/en/ Leave a Comment Share Article
Christie Shows BuzzWall at DSE 2011 At the Digital Signage Expo in Las Vegas last week, Christie showed a new configuration of its MicroTiles — an all-in-one interactive multimedia content solution from Arsenal Media called the BuzzWall. To see a video we shot of the BuzzWall at DSE 2011, click here: https://www.ravepubs.com/rave2011/index.php?option=com_ravevideo&ravevideo_id=4022&view=ravevideo&Itemid=237 The BuzzWall is made up of Christie MicroTiles, small DLP- and LED-based cubes that can be arranged in any shape or configuration to create large video displays. With solid-state components, including the LED light source, the tiles are rated at 65,000 hours to half brightness, which means no lamps or consumables to replace for more than seven years. Christie MicroTiles are RoHS compliant and also have a built-in eco-power consumption mode. For more information on Christie MicroTiles, click here: http://www.christiedigital.com/en-us/digital-signage/products/microtiles/pages/microtiles-digital-signage-video-wall.aspx Leave a Comment Share Article
Lutron Releases iPad App for RadioRA 2 Lutron announced last month the availability of a new Apple iPad App for the RadioRA total light control system. The App controls lights, shades, temperature and appliances. It allows homeowners to monitor and control appliances while away from home, enact a temporary “green” mode for reducing light levels and turning off unneeded appliances, personalized programming with a real-time level editor, and the ability to control multiple homes from one iPad. It’s available now on iTunes and costs $19.99. To download the App, click here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/lutron-home-control/id415374545?mt=8 Leave a Comment Share Article
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
Copyright 2011 – rAVe [Publications] – All rights reserved – All rights reserved. For reprint policies, contact rAVe [Publications], 210 Old Barn Ln. – Chapel Hill, NC 27517 – (919) 969-7501. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org rAVe GreenAV contains the opinions of the author only and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of other persons or companies or its sponsors.