by Lindsey Snyder InfoComm International has announced the formation of the Sustainable Technology Environments Program (STEP) Foundation, with InfoComm and CompTIA as initial sustaining members.
Scott Walker, president and CEO Waveguide Consulting (left); Randal A. Lemke, Ph.D., executive director and CEO, InfoComm International (center); and Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of CompTIA (right).
“It is our movement forward in the world of helping our industry and the public, as well, in terms of sustainability issues,” says Randal A. Lemke, Ph.D., executive director and CEO, InfoComm International.
The announcement built on last year’s “soft launch” of the program initiative, Lemke says, and came on the heels of a vote to incorporate the rating system, as well as voting a board into place, with Lemke as president and Allen Weidman, InfoComm sustainability officer, as executive director.
The foundation is composed of the current two sustaining members while other partners are considering, and “we think coming on board soon,” Lemke says. Other support will come from sponsors and specific projects that will be designated as friends of STEP.
The STEP Foundation will raise revenue through member dues, sponsorships, donations, education activities, certification fees, and project fees.
STEP focuses on the electronic systems that operate within sustainable buildings. The program shouldn’t be confused as an ANSI standard. It is a rating system more focused on habits. “A 179-page document explains criteria for each part of the rating system,” Lemke says. “I want to acknowledge the hard work of Scott Walker who led that group from InfoComm,” and other people involved as well, he says.
The system is unique because it is a set up as a living document that the board intends to revise in an ongoing process, and because it addresses projects in operation, opposed to only how projects are built and designed.
Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association), says this open framework allowing the board to bring in other standards was “a great hallmark of the program,” that drew the IT association to it.
“You don't meet anyone that doesn't want to do their part [in sustainability], but don’t know what they can do,” Thibideaux says. STEP provides this guideline.
Walker was a driving force in establishing STEP from the beginning. “We now have a program from early conceptual planning all the way to day-to-day operations,” he says.
STEP plans to roll out test cases this year, and is seeking volunteers to apply the system. There are currently two pilot projects at universities in the Middle East. “A couple of other projects are on the cusp of approval,” Walker says, and he is talking to many of his clients and peers in the industry about potential test cases.
CompTIA’s Thibideaux says, “We’re hoping to get up to speed to allow us to do those pilots this year.”
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