Metrics Matter: How to Develop Green AV Key Performance Indicators

It recently dawned on me that I’ve been throwing a lot of cool information about reporting, standards and other tools at you, but I’ve never really done a deeper dive into how to do some of these things.

So this month I’m going to walk you through the process of developing KPI, or Key Performance Indicators. I can think of no simpler means of tracking results and demonstrating value to a client than delivering them a report showing the environmental impact of their audio video systems over time. Here is what you need to know to develop your own system of tracking and reporting Key Performance Indicators.

First, you must choose which indicators to report. This requires a delicate balance of choosing metrics that matter to the client, your organization and, really, the world beyond — this will make them key to measuring performance. There is significance in this word performance, in that it indicates performance relevant to a goal. So, hopefully you and your clients have already established goals. This will ultimately make choosing your supporting indicators that much easier.

Next, while it is important to include certain intangibles in reporting, for KPI you will focus on that which can be measured (even if approximations). Categories we can support include:


  1. Energy: This is kind of a no brainer. Essentially we measure how much our systems consume. The primary unit of measurement would be kwh (kilowatt-hour). You could potentially also include British thermal units (Btu) here for the heat generated by elements of our systems. Of course, we don’t always have the exact measurement of our entire system, but even if we provide measurements for our most significant pieces of gear, we can at least lend some value to the measurement.
  2. Waste: What consumables can we measure? How many batteries will we recycle? How many hours of content were recorded to hard drive (in turn, how many tapes were avoided)? How many sheets of paper did we save using iPads for presentation materials? How many sheets of flip chart paper will be recycled? Usually the real metric we’re looking for here is to support waste diversion. So, for the units of measurement, you would begin with a count of the unit itself (e.g., 800 batteries). But, to support a client’s waste diversion goals you would ultimately translate to pounds or other appropriate unit of weight.
  3. Transportation and Local Resources: How far and how much did we ship? What percentage of equipment and labor came from within 50, 100, 200 miles? You could provide these numbers as pounds, miles and percentages.
  4. Carbon: This requires a special note. If it’s a priority for your client, you will need to provide measurements of your carbon impact, which is done in tons. However, knowing if you’re to measure your Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, and which elements of your activity is to be measured, could require the assistance of a professional.

Keep in mind that ultimately we’re trying to answer questions such as, “What impact do our choices for more energy efficient equipment make over time?” Or even, “If we reduce the Btu of our system, will we be able to reduce cooling requirements in the room?” So, by consistently tracking metrics that matter, over time we will be able to assess our performance and answer those questions which matter most to our clients and our planet.

Midori Connolly is CEO and Chief AVGirl of Pulse Staging & Events, Inc. in Escondido, California. She wrote the first-ever set of Sustainable Staging guidelines after discovering none existed. She is the vice-chair of the AV committee for the U.S. EPA’s Green Meetings Standards and regularly speaks and writes about corporate social responsibility and green practices in live events and meeting planning. Reach her at