Many global suppliers have had green compliance programs for years. For Panasonic, a corporate “eco ideas” initiative pledges to produce energy-efficient products, to reduce CO2 emissions in manufacturing and to encourage the global growth of environmental activities.
Here are some green elements to be considered that are specific to the security department:
1. Does a supplier company work to reduce emissions? Suppliers should have a goal of reducing CO2 emissions and optimizing productivity across all manufacturing processes, from planning through production. This includes developing manufacturing practices that produce low material waste as well as material recycling.
2. Does a supplier design products to minimize environmental impact? Smaller product sizes require less material processing in manufacturing, conserves natural resources and ultimately produces less material to recycle or discard, while maintaining established performance and reliability standards.
3. How much power do security products consume? The use of more energy-efficient equipment options can really make a difference, even related to low-voltage systems. For example, choosing a video camera that lowers power usage 30 percent may equate to only several dollars worth of energy savings in a year, but the amount can start to add up in a video system with dozens or hundreds of cameras.
4. Consider products that enable re-use of resources. Reusing cable, for example, can help to reduce waste. A technology component such as a converter to enable IP camera video to be sent over existing coaxial cable is one example. Another is the use of UTP (unshielded twisted pair) hub systems to send analog signals over copper cables, which could later be used again if the system is converted to Ethernet.
5. Use fewer physical products to minimize environmental impact. Power over Ethernet (PoE) solutions reduce the use of cable by enabling power to travel along the same cable as digital signals.
Making a Green Contribution
These ideas are just the beginning of how a security department can contribute to environmental efforts. Another way might be to consider the effect on a company’s carbon footprint of using surveillance of a remote location in lieu of requiring a manager to drive to the location (thus using gasoline, emitting automotive exhaust, etc.). There might be environmental benefits of using an access control system interfaced with a building’s other systems to turn out the lights when no one is in a section of the building, or to adjust the temperature based on building occupancy.
The bottom line is, progress in the greening of the security department must begin with a heightened consciousness of environmental concerns and attention to green issues in every aspect of operations. That awareness will cause changes that contribute to a company’s overall effort to become better corporate citizens. More important, it can also contribute to a global effort to change the world for the better. Future generations will thank us.