10 Minutes With Project Green AV Founder & Director Gina Sansivero
Jun 3, 2011 4:01 PM, With Dan Daley
Gina Sansivero had one foot in AV and one in a green field when she realized that there was a useful synergy between them. Her company, Projection Lamp Services, on New York’s Long Island, refurbishes and recycles projection lamps for AV integrators and its clients; it’s an inherently green enterprise, and one with a fairly transparent return on investment for customers. That’s something that AV integrators don’t have nearly as much access to as other contractors in the green domain, largely because the AV sector has yet to be included in the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification program. Along with InfoComm’s Green AV Task Force, which is developing the STEP rating system that will award points for energy-efficient and green-certified AV products, Sansivero’s Project Green AV intends to provide an online clearing house for information aimed at AV systems integrators about green AV products, systems, and best practices. Sound & Video Contractor asked Sansivero about the challenges that integrators face when they want to include environmentally valid practices to their palette of competencies.
S&VC: What’s Project Green AV’s reach at this point, and how it is being funded?
Gina Sansivero: We’re putting out a newsletter once per quarter with some mini-newsletters in between, and the intent is to raise awareness about developments in green AV for products, installations, and practices. We’re self-funded; we don’t have sponsors at this point, but we do have partnerssuch as Control Conceptsand we’re in the process of reaching out to manufacturers, such as discussions we’ve had recently with Crestron and Middle Atlantic. Project Green AV now has over 800 followers on LinkedIn and close to 300 on Twitter.
One of the problems systems integrators face is multitude of “green” certifications out there. How should integrators pick and choose wisely? You website points out that there were at one point more than 400 green certifications floating around the business and consumer markets.
There are lots of certifications out there, but none that are specific to AV. LEED is really a building certification, and the USGBC hasn’t yet addressed AV systems in its certifications process. InfoComm’s STEP program [the Sustainable Technology Environments Program will complement LEED by adding a rating system for the electronic systems] will bring about a big change in this situation, but it’s still in development.
So what should AV integrators do in the meantime, and what are the biggest challenges that they face without a clear certification path?
The biggest challenges and best solutions right now have to do with education, both educating the integrator as to what’s available to them and educating the AV client base as to why green is good for their interests. That’s why the ROI study with the California courthouse was so important; it helped establish the validity of green as something that can return its investment. AV integrators are at something of a disadvantage because of the amount of toxic materials used in electronics. But there are ways to use them in more responsible ways. A big way that integrators can add green features to systems designs is by bringing the idea of the eco-mode or auto-shut-off of systems when they’re not in use, or automatically shutting down the portions of systems that are not needed, down to the component level. For instance, an AV system may not need the projector for a lecture but the audio does need to remain on. Programming a system for that kind of operation is a fundamental green process. The biggest stumbling block is that these kinds of things are not written into bids. The integrator can suggest them, but they can’t really push for it. We need it to get to the point where it’s part of the bid requirement.
Where are we with green functionality in AV product development?
It’s all about the money. Manufacturers are not going to make large investments in making greener AV products until they see the demand from the end users. There are some exceptions. Casio makes a line of hybrid projector lamps that use a laser lamp and LEDs instead of a lamp containing mercury, which is supposed to last 10 times as long as conventional lamps and use less power. Middle Atlantic has implemented some amazing environmentally sound business and manufacturing processes at their factory, such as reusing water and heat from manufacturing for other purposes. These are pioneers in green AV. We need to see demand increase from end users of AV products, and to make that happen we need to increase awareness through education.
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