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Basic Sustainable Design - Best Practice - Article #1

September 29, 2022

Netgear and Visualization have teamed up to produce a series of articles covering topics of sustainability relevant to the AV industry, to give you the inside track when specifying systems.

How is your company championing sustainability?

What can you do to ensure your solution stands out to your client for its eco credentials?

Netgear and Visualization have teamed up to produce a series of articles covering topics of sustainability relevant to the AV industry, to give you the inside track when specifying systems.

Here is our first insight, starting with ‘green by design’.

Basic sustainable design - best practice

When linking design in AV to sustainability, let’s look at the whole process to identify opportunities for Eco-efficiency.

Eco-design processes include:

-       Design for deconstruction

-       Designing for miniaturisation (reduction in product materials)

-       Designing for dematerialisation (reduction in energy used in producing product)

-       Designing for longevity

-       Design for modularity

-       Design for running efficiency

The choice of materials that form any product are the building blocks for sustainable design. At the end of the materials life-cycle, can the material or product that it forms be refurbished, re-purposed, or recycled? Is the material finite or infinite? The European Commission has estimated ‘80% of all product-related environmental impacts are determined during the design phase’. We can reduce our impact on carbon emissions by thinking in terms of life cycle analysis and assessing whether we can use recycled components during the manufacturing phase.

And of course, we also need to think about power use. In the AV/VC Industry, many products are mains powered and/or electronic. Not only do we use energy and emit carbon when creating the product, but the product itself uses energy ‘which in turn leads to carbon emissions’ throughout its life cycle, unless designed to have a neutral, net-positive impact or regenerative impact.

When choosing a product, we need to assess its energy rating and energy performance e.g., How much energy was used during its creation? How much energy will it use throughout its life-cycle? How can we optimise operating efficiency and energy usage?

Key sustainable strategies for responsible sourcing include:

-       Review current resourcing model

-       Supply chain mapping – traceability

-       Engagement across full supply, support local capacity

-       Develop policy & commitments

-       Risk assess and prioritise

-       Monitor and report

Integrator's need to consider the life expectancy of each product, to determine the life expectancy of the complete system. The ability to readily replace individual elements as they expire (with full reuse and/or recycle plans) ultimately increases the systems’ running life.

To prolong the life of our AV/VC equipment and ultimately reduce its impact on the environment, we need the ability to remotely troubleshoot a system to detect, diagnose and resolve faults. This, combined with preventative maintenance visits (for routine cleaning, to check for wear & tear) reduces the need for unplanned SLA visits.

Typically, electrical, and electronic equipment has been powered by mains AC running on a single phase at 240v AC (in some circumstances power s stepped down through a transformer) in the UK and Europe (120v AC in the USA). However, in recent years equipment is increasingly being powered by ELV (Extra Low Voltage) or PoE (Power over Ethernet).

The smart electronic meeting room of the future - incorporating AVoiPoE - will showcase in Bracknell 29th September 2022. This is a complete AV system powered over IP running at voltages as low as 12v to 48v DC. Video; audio; control; data and power are carried simultaneously, creating a meeting room that significantly reduces the clients’ carbon footprint. System automation and monitoring are to be included. The ability to switch products into ‘sleep’ mode, power down the system when not in use, and reboot at scheduled times - are all essential energy saving features.

Clearly, not all solutions can be standardised. We all design bespoke systems for clients; however, we do encounter many recurring situations and solutions in industry, in creating modular systems, with ‘rinse and repeat’ installation practice the RISK of unknowns and human error are decreased, in turn increasing efficiency of the solution.

Whenever possible, site surveys should be conducted to understand how the solution will integrate into the end users’ space. Does the current building fabric, mechanical, data and electrical services require any additions or alterations to incorporate the system? Any changes must be planned, delivered, and incorporated into the design to make for streamlined, efficient installations.

We all know the ‘5 P’s’: ‘Perfect preparation prevents poor performance’. Let’s apply this to our green thinking and optimise our design process to consider the future life of the product; how we’re reducing power consumption; and how we’re able to reduce the maintenance time needed to support bespoke products.

What are your thoughts on Sustainable design in AV? Interested to hear any feedback in the comments.

#avtweeps #proav #audiovisual

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Written by Anna Bateman, Visualization & Richard Jonker, Netgear