Green AV: Beyond Energy Management

Ok- who said Green is passé? Granted, the term “Green” may be getting kind of annoying.  And the references to our childhood, redundant (poor Kermit doesn’t get royalties, ya know!) But we, as the AV industry, haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of Green. It will go beyond sucking less energy and reducing or carbon footprint. Heck, it already does. NOW- IMMEDIATELY…

People think that right now Green AV is simply about managing the energy consumption of equipment.  Turning devices on and off at scheduled times, using standby mode, reporting on historic use and analyzing location and environmental factors to create the most energy efficient use of equipment.  Sounds great- and it is. Our industry programmers, manufacturers and engineers have spent countless time, hours and effort working on energy management.  And it shows- there are a lot of options, ranging from residential home theater management to integrating entire commercial building facilities and structures by bringing together AV, IT, HVAC and lighting controls.

While this management is extremely important, effective and relevant (the focus of a couple of InfoComm committees), is that all we can expect from Green AV right now?  No!  Green AV is evolving.  The AV community now has more options than ever regarding products manufactured with environmental responsibility in mind or manufactured by companies with truly impressive green initiatives.

Want options?  There are devices which are manufactured with minimal or reduced toxicity.  How about equipment which takes into account the product lifecycle and reduced replacement parts- like projectors with LED light sources.  Consider products that are manufactured from recycled or sustainable materials- like speakers or screens.  Remanufactured and re-certified products give you additional environmentally sound alternatives for reduced cost.  Many of these Green AV products provide the high quality components we require, at competitive prices.  So being Green can be a reasonable option (and should be a preference).

Supporting companies and manufacturers who implement green business practices is a great choice for integrators and designers.  Sometimes the products required for an install just aren’t available in environmentally responsible options (yet).  In that case, support manufacturers which execute environmentally sound business practices, like my neighbor in Jersey, Middle Atlantic.  Middle Atlantic isn’t the only one, but they have received ISO 14001 certification for their environmentally conscious procedures and policies. (I tried not to mention any company or product specifically, as to not show any bias, but Middle Atlantic is so far beyond on the Green scale- and they are the coolest people- that I couldn’t help myself!)

As an AV community we need to embrace energy management and start educating our end users. Get them to specify installs with enhanced energy management requirements.  But we also have to educate ourselves. There is Green AV beyond energy management and it is available NOW.  It will continue to grow, evolve and expand, especially with added demand. And it isn’t difficult- but let’s leave the easy part to Kermit.

Let me know of any products you know of that Green AV professionals can incorporate into their designs.  I plan to get more detailed in future blog posts.  Or- if you think Green is unimportant and passé you can leave that comment too- just please back it up with valid reasons.