Is Green Golden?
Look at the bottom of a few emails these days. After the signature and before the security warning that “This electronic message may contain proprietary and confidential information,” there is the gentle suggestion that not printing out the email will be a green thing to do. But, in today’s cynical world, where global warming is a laugh track to some, does one sheet of paper make a difference?
For enterprise security leaders, there are additional ways, big and small, expensive and inexpensive, to go green. And taking some type of action brings green to the bottom line as well as aligns with a growing number of corporate cultures which see value in doing the right thing.
Secured Meeting PlacesThe floors have secured wireless access throughout, and power and LAN access are integrated into all work surfaces and tables, including “touch down” offices for short-term projects. There are “work bars” for visitors, and formal and casual meeting areas are equipped with flat-screen TVs for online access and presentations. Security, it turns out, has also been designed in.
No matter a new or old facility, there are some specific areas where green can more easily become golden for a security operation.
Sensors and InterfacesThe University of Florida plan is to develop sensors and user interfaces – connected to security and life safety gear – that will allow building occupants to better control the building temperature and enable the building to better sense and automatically respond to occupants. The team will also be designing new HVAC equipment and building exteriors, or envelopes, to improve the speed and efficiency with which buildings could respond to occupants.
To meet the energy-reduction target, university researchers are developing a wide range of technologies, including next-generation wireless sensors, HVAC equipment, building envelope designs and human-computer interfaces. They will use sensors to monitor electric and water loads, occupant motion in buildings, door and window positions, light, temperature and humidity. On the most basic level, the sensors and computer systems would allow a building to automatically detect when certain rooms are occupied and then automatically activate the heating or cooling system. The research becomes more complex when considering issues such as predicting when people would return to a building so that the system can preheat or pre-cool spaces, the cost of sensors and the return on investment from energy savings.
Cutting Down the FootprintGovernment facilities are big green players. The Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center has achieved LEED Gold certification. Including its security and life safety systems, the facility opened in 2008 and is operated by the Gettysburg Foundation in partnership with the National Park Service. “Our certification at the Gold level highlights the Foundation’s and the National Park Service’s commitment to environmental responsibility and preservation,” says Gettysburg Foundation Chairman Robert A. Kinsley. “When ground was broken for the facility back in 2005, we always had our sights set on achieving a certain level of environmental sustainability. We are thrilled that we have been able to exceed those goals as we work to preserve not only our past but also our future.”
Alternative energy sources are a potential green tool. For instance, the New York Jets National Football League team has a solar power system at the Jets’ team headquarters and training center in Florham Park, N.J. It powers a number of building systems. “The New York Jets are excited to be at the forefront of incorporating solar energy into the NFL. When we decided to add solar energy to the Atlantic Health Training Center, going green was the catalyst,” says Thad Sheely, New York Jets' executive vice president of finance and stadium development. “This project is the first of many green initiatives on behalf of the team, and we are proud to be green in color and also in deed.”
LED LightingThe evolution to LED lighting can also make a green impact.
Chicago’s DePaul University has installed energy-efficient LED lights by replacing 210 watt metal halide lights in its parking garage with 90 watt LED lights, which reportedly use less than half the energy of the previous lights, and will save the university thousands of dollars per year in energy and maintenance costs while providing more uniform light on the ground and increased visibility and campus safety. In addition to using 60-percent less energy, the lights are designed to be maintenance-free, requiring no bulb replacements for approximately six years. LED lights are extremely durable and robust in challenging environments, such as high-traffic outdoor areas. Parking garages are an ideal application for energy-saving LED lighting, given that parking garage lights are often on 24 hours per day, seven days per week. In addition to consuming less than half the energy, LED lights are more durable than traditional metal halide lights, making them ideal to stand up to the constant vibration of traffic.