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Green AV Should Walk the Walk

As an industry, pro AV has gone through careful deliberation and education regarding green AV initiatives. But now it's time for the movement to walk the walk. February 2010 marks the end of the Oxen's year of planning and steady persistence and ushers in the Year of the Tiger. Time to spring into action.

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Midori Connolly

Over the past year, I've discussed the many ways sustainable business practices might be profitable and have a lasting positive impact on our environment. As InfoComm initiated the first-ever Green AV Task Force, we made significant strides in creating industry awareness and belief in the idea. Fabulous, entertaining debates over terminology and methodology have taken place within the AV community and via PRO AV.

As an industry, we've gone through careful deliberation and education. But now it's time for our movement to walk the walk. According to the lunisolar Chinese calendar, February 2010 marks the end of the Oxen's year of planning and steady persistence and ushers in the Year of the Tiger. This year, we spring into action.

What might this action be? To begin with, obviously, change your habits. Change your office practices. And encourage it in others. In a recent transaction with a medium-to-large-sized North American staging company, I tracked the approximate costs of the company's paper billing system. For one small event, the company mailed two separate invoice packages. It printed one-sided and sent two copies of each page. (Particularly disheartening was that these invoices were already being e-mailed to the appropriate accounting department.)

Assuming this company does about 250 transactions a year, this practice could easily be costing it more than $2,000 annually. While that might be a small fraction of its annual revenue, it's still money that could be earmarked for any number of beneficial purposes, like funding green initiatives, making a charitable contribution, or perhaps even handing out an end-of-year bonus for employees who've taken a hit in the tough economy.

And the environmental impact? At about 20 pages per mailing, this works out to 10,000 sheets of paper per year. Producing one sheet of letter size paper releases 4.5g CO2 and requires 17Wh. This doesn't even take into account the impact of the envelopes, ink, toner, emissions of the shipping, etc. Let me pause and remind you this is just the billing and invoicing we're talking about. It still doesn't include the many other steps this company could take to begin their measurable shift to green AV.

You can see that there are tangible, monetary benefits to greening your own AV operations. But can you sell it to your clients and potential clients? How will they reap rewards? This will require a surge of creativity and examination on the part of you, the consultant, programmer, stager, installer, integrator. What will you do to demonstrate financial and environmental benefits to your clients?



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