What Does It Cost, Man? What Does It Cost? By Scott Walker, CTS-D, LEED AP Two weeks ago at InfoComm, the sustainable technology movement took a giant leap forward. The InfoComm Board of Directors formally accepted the work of the STEP task force, and the STEP Foundation was formed — with sustaining members InfoComm and Comp-TIA at the helm — to guide the further development of STEP as a holistic building technology rating system. The table is now set for more trade associations to join the foundation as they put STEP on their boards’ calendars for approval and funding. So now we enter the next phase in our goal to define a sustainable approach to technology manufacturing, planning, design, integration and operation through the vehicle of the STEP rating system. And in this phase we’re looking for green-minded owners and their technology solutions providers to come forward with worthy pilot projects so we can figure out what’s right and what’s wrong with STEP sooner rather than later. At InfoComm several interested and willing STEP pioneers asked me a simple, yet difficult to answer, question, “What does it cost?” I gave them the consultant’s trusty and time-tested answer, “It depends.” And it does depend on a whole range of issues. How big is your project? The bigger the project, the lower the incremental STEP project costs will be. What level of STEP do you want to achieve? If you just want to start with STEP Bronze on a relatively large project, the cost increase might be quite low. If you want to go for STEP Gold right out of the gates on a small project, the costs will be much higher as a percentage of overall project costs. Of course, the first credit in STEP is the kickoff meeting where the team discusses which credits to pursue. Fee discussions may have to remain somewhat fluid until after that initial goal-setting has been done. Are you interested in pursuing the integrated building technology (IBT) credits on your project? IBT credits make up approximately 30 percent of STEP’s points. To achieve a level higher than the basic Bronze level of STEP (50 percent of the applicable points completed) to Silver (75 percent) or Gold (90 percent), some attempt at the IBT credits will be required. The tasks associated with the IBT credits will add time — and thus initial design costs — to the project, but they also have the greatest potential for reducing the overall payback period from following STEP since they address a reduction in duplicative infrastructure elements and tackle the big energy-consuming systems of HVAC and lighting through intelligent controls. Lastly, who are your technology partners, and how far along the road toward STEP are they already? For some companies who have been angling toward a more sustainable workflow prior to STEP’s creation, documenting the practices they have already been following will not be a big adjustment to their normal project process. For instance, leading software programmers are already steeped in energy monitoring as well as remote management and troubleshooting via IP control. For them, STEP will be business as usual except now they have an additional market differentiator and value proposition argument to make. Given the factors above combined with the fact that none of us (myself included) have run a project through the STEP process yet, it’s difficult to say what it will cost or how quick the payback period will be. However, this is where following in LEED’s wake is a good thing. We can ask ourselves what we learned from watching our friends in architecture, engineering and general contracting as they mastered LEED. We learned that LEED did add time to a project and that architects who did not factor that additional time into their fees really took it on the chin in the early days. We also saw a new profession, the LEED consultant, spring up almost out of nowhere, and today hundreds of entrepreneurial firms make a good living shepherding projects through the LEED process. We also learned that general contractors and their subs had a significant stake in the successful outcome of a LEED project that added costs to their work. In short, LEED wasn’t free, and STEP won’t be either. In the early days of LEED it was estimated that obtaining a LEED Silver status for a project added nominally 10 percent to the cost of the project. However, within five or six years LEED had become the de facto process within most established architecture and general constructing firms, particularly those in major metropolitan areas, and estimates for the delta paid to obtain LEED Silver status plummeted to three percent or less as a greater volume and variety of sustainable products reached the market and more construction industry professionals internalized LEED into their process regardless of whether a client wanted to actually get that LEED plaque on the wall. I suspect we’ll see a similar maturation process with STEP. In the early years we might have to balance the additional costs of STEP between our clients’ ability to pay a little more upfront and our own tolerance for absorbing the “marketing” costs of STEP within each of our firms (i.e., the time we’re willing to give away to build STEP tools and templates into our process). We may also see some forward-looking firms develop, market and sell tools and apps for managing STEP projects. Hopefully, we’ll also see the new profession of STEP administrator and emerging (some would say long overdue) profession of IBT project manager gain a foothold within our industry and offer a good living to seasoned technology professionals. Of course, none of this will matter unless some brave technology buyers and providers get together and take a chance on STEP. We have some pilot projects beginning in the next few months, but we need many more. If you are an owner who is looking to go beyond LEED and envelop your technology expenditures in a sustainable process, then STEP is for you. If you are an owner or thought leader within an AV consultancy, integration company, software programming firm or manufacturer who wants to make sustainability a differentiator or perhaps legacy for your company, then the quicker we all get from STEP infancy through the awkward adolescent years to full STEP adulthood, the better. In July, the newly formed STEP Foundation Board will have its first substantive meeting. As a member of that Board, I plan to highlight the need to disseminate the tools — marketing collateral, website development, STEP checklist, STEP reference guide, etc — that each of us, buyers and providers alike, will need to register and run our projects through STEP. In the meantime, you buyers and providers out there can look at which projects are good candidates for STEP and lay the groundwork for becoming among the first, perhaps the very first, STEP project to be completed. History awaits. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org Leave a Comment Share Article
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A Slow Growth for Green By Midori Connolly Did anyone else see what I saw at Infocomm this year? Did you notice that green has slowly moved from its place on the fringes of conversation and marketing to being a mainstream business practice? In case you missed it, here’s how sustainability has infiltrated the ranks of InfoComm and the members who were exhibiting, speaking and, well, just talking.
- On Tuesday, Infocomm invested an entire day of education in Sustainability Standards. With a packed room of students, there was a full day of education on all of the new standards that have bloomed out of the growth of GreenAV. The representatives were from organizations as varied as the International Society of Automation to the International Association of Lighting Designers to the United States Institute for Theatre Technology. It was fascinating to discover the moss-like permeation of sustainability, covering every brick of our industry.
- On the show floor, exhibitors were eager to share what was green about their products. Probably the coolest thing was at the Prysm booth, where visitors were treated to a really fun stand that showed their large display products using less power than various small household appliances (such as their largest video wall next to a small hair dryer!).Mitsubishi had a massive wall mentioning their eco-features and focus on sustainability.
- Probably more exciting than anything, though, was the open and welcome dialogue about sustainability. No longer scoffed at as though it were a silly diversion from “real business,” many manufacturers and practitioners actually were having meaningful conversations about GreenAV. I heard cool side conversations happening in sessions and even overheard one really incredible hallway conversation about someone’s ideas for changing their workplace.I was also excited to have two manufacturers specifically seek me out to see if there was any way I could help them on their sustainable journey post-show. And, for a greenie like me, this demonstration of intent and authenticity is almost a tear-worthy moment!
- If there was any one source of disappointment for me, it was the lack of sustainability for the actual tradeshow. But, in usual form, I’m going to do something about that – but I’ll tell you more about that next month.
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How Green is Our Alley? InfoComm’s Approach to Sustainability By Randal A. Lemke, Ph.D. Executive Director, InfoComm International While the term “GreenAV” has been kicked around for a number of years, it has not always been easy to identify how the AV industry can minimize its impact on the environment. As the trade association leading this great industry, our board has made many decisions along the way to fund programs to educate the industry, promote concrete suggestions for changing the way AV can be done in a built environment, and changing the way InfoComm, as an association, does business. STEP It Up Many of you have been following Scott Walker’s numerous pieces on the Sustainable Technology Environments Program (STEPâ„ ) Program in this newsletter. I am pleased that this new program, created by manufacturers, designers, integrators, programmers and the users of technology, is in its final review. STEP will guide project and building owners to implement practices that will produce economic benefits to their organization, while preserving planet. STEP focuses on the electronic systems that operate within sustainable buildings — bringing them to life. STEP employs a five-phase approach to planning, implementing and measuring the impact of a project. Conducted by the providers of technology and the building owner, STEP engages the best practices and standards for sustainability for a particular project. Without the constraints of a fixed-point system, the rating scale is adaptable to any technology project within the built environment. STEP-rated projects will establish the technology industry benchmark for sustainable energy and materials practices. Building occupants can be assured that their building owner has carefully developed the project to meet the high standards of STEP. STEP project teams will be composed of the providers of electronic systems for the audiovisual, building automation, communications, IT, and security industries. Green Light for New Sustainability Officer I am also pleased that Allen Weidman has begun his work as InfoComm International’s Sustainability Officer. Weidman brings more than 30 years of association experience to InfoComm, having worked with the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Consumer Products Safety Commission and a number of other federal and state regulatory agencies. He has developed, integrated and managed industry coalitions on federal and international environmental issues. With audiovisual systems integrated in nearly all commercial buildings, it is more important than ever for InfoComm to collaborate with building industry groups, government agencies and others on sustainability matters. By having Allen in this critical position we have expanded our expertise at the Association’s most senior level and will have an excellent knowledge manager as a resource for our members. Over the next few months, Allen will be rolling out webinars and practical “news you can use” relating to sustainability. This is actionable information that your company will be able to rely on to explain the latest regulations and proceedings impacting your company, along with practical advice for “greening” your company. Since many sustainable activities are cost-effective, this will help “green” your bottom line, as well. Beyond Platitudes InfoComm is not sitting on the sidelines when it comes to sustainability. We have changed our own practices and processes from the inside out. While InfoComm does not own its headquarters building, as the facility’s largest tenant we have used our influence to make changes to our building. During recent renovations, InfoComm followed the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED accreditation system for Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI) and Existing Buildings (LEED-EB). LEED-CI and LEED-EB encourages owners, operators and tenants of existing buildings to implement sustainable practices and reduce the environmental impacts of their building over their functional life cycles. We have installed occupancy sensors for all lights in our office space to turn off when not in use. During recent renovations we installed glass partitions and sidelights in the new space to allow natural light to filter through. Our carpeting meets the CRI Green Label Testing Program, furniture complies with GREENGUARD requirements, and all carpet and cushions installed in our office suite complies with requirements of Carpet and Rug Institute Green Label Plus program. We have also eliminated the use of bottled water, made sure that all of our kitchen and computer equipment is ENERGY STAR-compliant and provide reusable tableware. We are printing less and creating electronic documents more. At least 60 percent of office paper purchases contain 10 percent post-consumer and/or 20 percent post-industrial waste, 50 percent rapidly renewable materials or 50 percent materials extracted and processed within 500 miles. We have changed employee-commuting options to allow for less car trips to the office and improved our recycling facilities. InfoComm has also made attempts to green our Show. We are mailing less, reducing print copies of publications on site, recycling name badges, using more recycled materials and earth-friendly inks, and more. In addition, InfoComm has been participating in the development of a standard to create greener live events worldwide. Most of what we have done has required some research, but has not been difficult to implement. Making our facilities and events more sustainable has been easier, and more cost-effective, than we anticipated. I hope that you will join us in our quest towards a more sustainable future. Please visit us at http://www.infocomm.org to keep up with issues facing the audiovisual industry. Randal (Randy) A. Lemke became the executive director of InfoComm International in June of 2000. Dr. Lemke also serves as chief executive of InfoComm’s charitable foundation. He holds board positions on Integrated Systems Events, LLC, a joint venture European tradeshow company, and on InfoComm Asia PTE, Ltd. a joint venture company in Singapore operating InfoComm’s Asian tradeshows. Dr. Lemke holds advanced degrees from Washington University in St. Louis and an undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska. Leave a Comment Share Article
EPA’s EnergyGuide Labels Now Required on HDTVs As of this month, all new HDTVs are required to prominently display the EnergyGuide label whenever on display in retail outlets as well as on the boxes for sale. These yellow/gold labels are similar to those seen on refrigerators, ACs and dish washers and will include the estimated annual operating cost, the amount of electricity used annually and a range in reference to other TVs’ operating costs. Originally, this was to go in effect at the beginning of this year, but was delayed at the request of the manufacturers. Wan to know more? Go here: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2010/10/tvlabeling.shtm
Chief’s Automated Projector Lifts Receive UL, TUV and CE Designations Chief recently announced that its lineup of automated projector lifts has received UL and TUV compliance. With these designations, Chief can now add a CE mark to these products. The lineup includes three models: SL151, SL220 and SL236. The SL151 is designed to fit inside a standard 2’x2’ (600mm x 600mm) suspended ceiling grid. The SL236 is used when extra extension is needed, as it provides up to 36” (91 cm) travel. The SL220 is recognized for ease of install, snapping inside a 2’x2’ ceiling grid, and its ability to be mounted in a fraction of the time of conventional projector lifts, according to Chief. All three automated projector lifts provide exceptionally smooth and quiet movement. Featuring high-quality materials and design, they are ideal solutions for finished ceilings in homes and corporate offices. With the compliance certification of the SL220, all models in the series have now received the following designations:
- UL – Verifies that a product is physically and environmentally safe for public use, as determined by the Underwriters Laboratories.
- TUV – Validates the safety of products to protect humans and the environment against hazards.
- CE – Is the manufacturer’s promise that a product is in conformity with European Union legislation and can be sold in the European Economic Area.
VMP Partners with UPS for Carbon Offset and Green Initiative In a unique and creative move for a company that sells bent metal, Video Mount Products has partnered with United Parcel Service (UPS) for its Carbon Offset program. Every package VMP ships via UPS will earn a carbon credit that goes directly towards the UPS green initiative. After a VMP donation for each domestic, international, and air freight shipment, UPS purchases certified carbon (CO2) offsets with those funds to give its customer a way to balance out the emissions produced by the transportation of its shipments. According to UPS, it has supported projects that include reforestation, landfill gas destruction, wastewater treatment, and methane destruction. The UPS carbon neutral shipping option allows its customers to demonstrate their commitment to reducing climate impact, and enables the customer and the package recipients to share in that commitment. Leave a Comment Share Article
Da-Lite Screen Renews ISO 14001 Certification Da-Lite Screen Company has achieved re-certification of its International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001:2004 Environmental Management System (EMS) for its worldwide headquarters facility located in Warsaw, Indiana. Additionally, the certification has been expanded to include Da-Lite’s manufacturing facilities in Wichita, Kansas and Cincinnati, Ohio. An ISO 14001:2004-based EMS is a management tool enabling Da-Lite to:
- Identify and control the environmental impact of its activities, products or services
- Improve its environmental performance continually
- Implement a systematic approach to setting environmental objectives and targets to achieving these and to demonstrating that they have been achieved
EPA Launches Bring Green to Work Site Did you know that the energy used by a building to support just one office worker for a day causes more than twice as many greenhouse gas emissions as that worker’s drive to and from work? Well, according to a new ENERGY STAR site, it’s true! Check out this new site on how you can become greener at work: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=bygtw.showSplash Leave a Comment Share Article
New Sony PS3 To Be Greener Sony’s newest Playstation3 (the 320GB version) – due to hit the stores next month in the U.S., will not only be smaller and lighter, but also “greener.” Game players, known as one of the two biggest power drains in the home, along with cable and satellite DVRs, waste energy to the level of a refrigerator or air conditioner. But now Sony aims to fix that with their newest PS3 revision, which reduces power nearly 30 watts when in use (to 200 watts) and 67 watts in standby mode. Still not spectacular specs here, but it’s nice to see some improvement. Leave a Comment Share Article
ZVOX Shows Two New Desktop Sound Bars ZVOX announced the introduction of the Z-Base 555 and Z-Base 580, desktop-style sound bars designed to fit under flat panel TVs using stands (not hanging on the wall) and only one connecting wire. Both models feature a Class-D digital amplifier that uses approximately 1/10th of a watt in standby mode (making it officially “green”), five high quality full-range speakers and built-in subwoofers all housed within real wood (MDF) cabinets. They have two analog audio inputs, one optical (Toslink) digital input, one coaxial digital input — plus a front panel 3.5mm analog stereo input. They are priced at $399 and $500, respectively. For complete specs, ho here: http://www.zvoxaudio.com/cgi-bin/category/shelf-mount Leave a Comment Share Article
A Primer on LEED So, what the heck is LEED? Click here to find out more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leadership_in_Energy_and_Environmental_Design Is LEED attainable – or even worth it? Go here: http://pkaudiovisual.com/2011/04/20/av-and-green-buildings/ 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 email@example.com or Editor-in-Chief Sara Abrons at firstname.lastname@example.org 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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