Retool Your Security Message: Time to talk up sustainability

By Deborah L. O’Mara | Apr 14, 2023
EC2304_Security_AdobeStock_471193901 [Converted]
Can physical security systems encourage sustainability and better energy management at the protected premises? What about a healthier space less prone to contaminants that fosters touch-free openings for enhanced wellness? The answer is yes, they can!

Can physical security systems encourage sustainability and better energy management at the protected premises? What about a healthier space less prone to contaminants that fosters touch-free openings for enhanced wellness? The answer is yes, they can!

Technology innovation makes it possible for systems integrators to expand into new areas contributing to sustainability, energy efficiency and wellness. Security has shifted from traditional detection to encompass a much broader value proposition, and with that comes the need for the systems integrator to change their messaging to the end-user.

In the “2022 Profile of the Electrical Contractor,” systems integration was cited as a big target for companies seeking to boost their low-voltage business. Projects with energy efficiency and sustainability also tracked upward from 2020’s data.

Smart, sustainable communities

As communities become smarter and more digitally connected, net-zero energy—consuming only as much energy as is produced by renewable, zero-emission sources—is the wave of the future. Smart cities are vetting such net-zero products and systems. Technologies such as energy-­efficient lighting and energy-management solutions are now part of automated building systems, and that footprint includes occupancy and other motion-activated sensors that control lighting, HVAC, air purifiers or other connected systems like water or refrigeration.

Sensors are a big deal when it comes to sustainability and satisfying energy-­efficiency mandates. In California, the most recent version (2022, effective Jan. 1, 2023) of the state’s Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards now requires occupancy sensors in all office areas no matter the size or building classification. These sensors detect when areas are occupied to manage lighting and other building controls.

So how does something like electronic access control fit into the sustainability discussion? Products such as wireless locks provide significant energy savings, reduce necessary materials by leveraging the current infrastructure and yield labor and installation efficiencies at lower costs. Wireless devices also consume little to no energy when not in activated use and operate with standard batteries that last two or more years.

In a recent HID Global Forecast, end-­users were cited as “demanding to work with suppliers that make sustainability a cornerstone of their business decisions and operations. The focus on sustainability will grow, driving suppliers to focus on digital solutions, including end-to-end mobile and multiple application technologies that reduce the industry’s footprint.”

In lighting, the ArchNexus SAC project featured by The International Living Future Institute, whose programs are embodied in the Living Future Challenge, focused on passive and active means of lowering the building’s energy consumption. Interior lighting is 100% LED with vacancy sensors throughout. Daylight controls are also employed. High interior surface reflectance, lowered foot-candle levels, localized task lights, limits on system furniture height and appropriately placed windows and skylights maximize daylighting potential in the space. LEDs are also used for exterior lighting to provide security, not for feature lighting.

Omdia analysts said one of the main themes from its research, “2023 Trends to Watch: Physical Security Technologies,” is the expectation that technology integration will provide holistic solutions in areas such as the integration of environmental sensors into a video-centric artificial intelligence (A.I.) of things solution.

“New advances in A.I., machine learning and predictive analytics are making cities more sustainable, economical and safe for citizens,” said Bryan Montany, senior research analyst with Omdia’s physical security group.

Even intelligent surveillance solutions can positively affect sustainability. In traffic management, these systems relay real-time information of possible accidents or lane closures to drivers to reduce travel times and energy use. Surveillance proactively reports stopped vehicles, wrong-way driving and roadway congestion. License plate recognition uses analytics for applications such as access control, parking management or alerts for vehicles on watch lists.

Human security

At CES 2023, innovation for human security and prioritizing safety was the theme of the annual show, which is heralded as the most influential tech event in the world. Introduced by the United Nations in 1994, the concept of human security outlines seven interconnected elements: economic, food, health, environmental, personal, community and political.

The show’s first panel of sustainability experts debuted at CES 2023 as the organization shifted from its well-defined space of consumer electronics to technology that assists in creating a holistically safe and efficient environment.

The new direction for systems integration is clear. The entire product category is changing and it’s not limited to security. The expanding role of security includes sustainability, safety, wellness and experience. It’s time to put sustainability at the forefront of customer conversations to get their attention and business. / klyaksun

About The Author

O’MARA writes about security, life safety and systems integration and is managing director of DLO Communications. She can be reached at [email protected] or 773.414.3573.





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