Don’t Overlook AV When Going Green

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Suppose that your company is getting ready to build a major facility. What if you were given an AV/IT budget that was in watts rather than dollars?

That scenario isn’t as far-fetched as it might sound. One example is the Masdar headquarters building, whose design required the AV systems to consume no more than 8W per square meter. Considering how companies, colleges, hospitals, and other organizations are increasingly publicizing their commitment to the environment, especially via LEED, chances are good that eventually yours will, too.

Vendors have been churning out energy-efficient digital signage, amplifiers, and other AV gear for years, so today, going green no longer means making do with a limited product selection. In fact, some energy-efficient technology can provide a better user experience. For example, displays backlit with LEDs can look noticeably richer than those that use CCFL backlights, which reach about 70 percent of RGB gamut versus 100 percent with LEDs.

There’s also a growing selection of standards and initiatives that link AV with energy efficiency. In June 2012, InfoComm published a standardAudiovisual Systems Energy Management — designed to make it easier for enterprise technology managers, AV integrators and other people to get the right amount of usage data and other metrics from AV systems. For example, some people might want just a dashboard-style snapshot, while others will need a deep dive.

Meanwhile, AV integration firms are increasingly using energy efficiency to differentiate themselves and tap new revenue streams. That means no shortage of expert help if you want to farm out some or all of the AV design tasks.

Companies sometimes allow their AV systems to connect to their building management systems, such as those for HVAC and lighting. In the past, that integration was done mainly for convenience: hit a button on the AV control panel to start a presentation, and the shades would automatically drop, and the HVAC blower would automatically throttle down to minimize noise.

But some AV integrators see an opportunityothers call it a challenge — to expand their portfolio to include helping clients save energy across all of their systems. So if you outsource some or all of your AV, don’t be surprised if the RFPs and sales pitches include building management.

Since 1998, Tim Kridel has covered the tech and telecom industries for a variety of publications and websites, including AV Technology, Carrier Ethernet News, Digital Innovation Gazette, Pro AV, and InAVate. His coverage includes Carrier Ethernet, mobile apps, speech recognition, digital signage, FTTx, videoconferencing, Wi-Fi, and cellular. He can be reached at tim@timkridel.com.

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