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Sustainable Products: Shades of Green

Want to save the world one AV install at a time? As more electronics manufacturers realize the benefits of going green, there are an increasing number of products that can help you do just that.

Creston Green Light

Creston Green Light

Want to save the world one av install at a time? As more electronics manufacturers realize the benefits of going green, there are an increasing number of products that can help you do just that.

In the race to preserve the environment, the AV industry is still taking baby steps when everyone else is sprinting, says Scott Walker, CEO of Atlanta-based WaveGuide Consulting. But that's starting to change. "In the past few weeks, three different clients asked us to look at the sustainability of their AV plants," says Walker. "Green issues are starting to show up on peoples' radar. I think manufacturers need to understand where the game is moving."

For example, some of the biggest environmental pain points are big-screen displays, which consume energy 24/7 and can be difficult to recycle. According to research firm DisplaySearch, about 20 percent of flat panels had some type of eco-friendly feature in 2008. That will steadily increase to 100 percent by 2015, according to the company's analysis.

"I'd say the biggest green products out there at the moment are the projection screens, particularly Da-Lite and Draper," says Dawne Meade, CEO of Advanced Video Systems in Owing Mills, Md. "In terms of products that make the greatest impact on a company's overall 'green-ness' I would say that a control system is the greatest green AV product you can install."

Though control systems from companies like Crestron and AMX are far from inexpensive, says Meade, they pay for themselves in the long run thanks to their ability to control energy use, eliminate waste, and reduce a building's overall carbon footprint.

Project Green AV (www.projectgreenav.com), a grassroots organization that launched last June, has set itself up as a clearinghouse for news about sustainable practices and green products.

"We think the AV industry has not been aware of how possible it is to make environmentally responsible choices," says spokesperson Elizabeth Eames. "We're working to help them see how easy it is to become more environmentally responsible."

The fact is, going green isn't just good for the planet, it's usually also good for your client's bottom line. "The best way of going green is to think lean," says Peter Pekurar, senior manager of integrated management systems at Christie. "Optimizing the product, materials, and the processes will yield a combined environmental and financial benefit. A well-implemented green program will reduce costs, reduce risk, and offer long-term environmental and financial benefits."

With that in mind, here are more than two dozen products from 16 manufacturers (in alphabetical order–green plays no favorites) that could help make your next installation a bit greener. Keep in mind, definitions of "green" products aren't set in stone and many more options may be available. Not to mention, it's not always easy to independently confirm manufacturers' interpretation of a green product. Always grill AV manufacturers about their claims.



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