Green Airport Cameras

Green Airport Cameras

The real process in environmental technology is happening inside the terminals

The environmental impact of air travel is no secret. While designing more fuel-efficient aircraft and other conservation measures to reduce CO2 emission are on the drawing boards, the real progress is happening in the greening of airport terminals around the country. Since 2006, the leading organization in green building technology, the U.S. Green Building Council, has been awarding LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification to airports for the design and retrofitting of their terminals using sustainable green technology.

Some of the more notable airports receiving recognition for their sustainability efforts include:

Logan International Airport. Extensive redesign of their Terminal A included new roofing as well as new paving to reduce heat island effect and storm water runoff. They added new systems for water conservation and waste recycling as well solar trees on a parking garage roof and a wind turbine on the roof of its main building to offset power consumption.

Oakland International Airport. An innovative system of perimeter swales filters pollutant from runoff before the water is channeled in San Francisco Bay.

Mineta San Jose International Airport. They earned their certification by focusing on water conservation and installing smart heating, cooling, and lighting systems.

San Francisco International Airport. Its many eco-conscious projects include systems for waste recycling and composting, natural lighting and water conservation, air infiltration and ventilation, as well as extensive use of recycled materials.

Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. The new international terminal incorporates multiple energy-saving systems, including lighting controls and rainwater harvesting.

Sacramento International Airport. Site development for its new Terminal B includes nine acres of groundwater-irrigated natural habitat reclaimed from parking lots.

Nowadays you can see this commitment to going green beginning to branch out beyond terminal buildings and tarmacs. Today you’ll find airports participating in sustainability initiatives like composting organic waste from airport restaurants, replacing older ground-transport vehicles with hybrid and electric fleets, participating in bio-fuel production, even using goats and sheep to graze the landscape.

Making a Green Commitment

One green initiative that’s been flying under the radar is the effort to bring video cameras into alignment with airports’ eco-friendly goals. This has spurred camera manufacturers to address ways they, too, can minimize the environmental impact of their products, packaging and partnership decisions. As a result, leading manufacturers have already begun using recycled material, reducing the number of product parts, choosing low-weight components, minimizing material waste, optimizing packaging, improving product energy consumption efficiency, streamlining logistics flows and even opting for more environmentally- friendly transport partners.

Smarter, Safer Material Choices

Perhaps the most significant shift is in the choice of raw materials. Typically, video cameras contain a long list of materials from aluminum, zinc and stainless steel to a number of chemicals, minerals and synthetics. To minimize environmental impact, green manufacturers are choosing to use recycled instead of new produced plastic and eliminating substances that are harmful for people and the environment. This includes toxins such as halogen and PVC which are commonly used in outdoor cables as well as cameras and bromine which is mainly found printed circuit board and transistors.

As the list of restricted substances continues to grow, green manufacturers are working with materials suppliers to replace them with greener alternatives.

Compact packaging. In addition to making products smaller, green camera manufacturers are optimizing the packing boxes to correspond more closely to the size of the products. Smaller packaging not only lowers the carbon emissions per dispatched unit, it also lowers the transport costs for those products. In addition, manufacturers are opting for biodegradable packaging wherever possible to minimize long-term impact on the environment.

Lower energy consumption. Energy consumption represents a 60 to 80 percent of the camera’s total environmental impact. Green manufacturers are introducing ways to improve energy efficiency without compromising camera functionality. This includes advanced compression technology which significantly reduces bandwidth and storage requirement as well as extremely lowlight functioning cameras which eliminate the need for external illumination.

Smaller carbon footprint. As the green movement gains momentum, camera manufacturers are looking to the ways they can reduce their own carbon footprints in concert with their customers and partners. Some of the areas where green manufacturers are making improvements include:

Transport emissions. Like airports, green manufacturers are choosing more fuel-efficient vehicles for their own fleets and negotiating with suppliers to lower their carbon footprint as well. Their efforts to streamline the logistics chain, from materials transports from suppliers to product transport to distributors, encompass locating distribution centers as close to markets as possible to shorten transport routes and selecting freight carriers that generate fewer carbon emissions.

On premise energy consumption. Like airports, green manufacturers are modifying their own internal operations to be more environmentally responsible and energy efficient. This ranges from replacing lightbulbs with more energy efficient LED lighting to installing smart building technology to control lighting and HVAC usage based on room occupancy or other programmable parameters. They also conduct environmental training programs to educate employees on how they can contribute to reducing the company’s environmental impact.

Good Global Citizenship

Green camera manufacturers are also collaborating with distributors, partners and suppliers to ensure compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations across the entire value chain. This includes adhering to the European Union’s RoHS directives on hazardous substances and the European Union’s REACH regulation on the registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemicals.

They’re also addressing social and ethical questions such as corruption, human rights and compulsory child labor. These green companies work diligently with their value chain to ensure that their products don’t contain any conflict minerals (gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten) sourced from countries where their sale would be used to finance armed conflict.

A Long-Term Sustainability Partnership

When manufacturers first introduced network cameras to airports the focus was strictly on security: providing better image clarity, more accurate event detection, etc. But even then, there was an under thread of eco-friendliness – from remote access that reduced the need for onsite maintenance and incident verification to low lux sensitive that reduced the need for external illumination. Additional video analytics elevated the network cameras to multi-duty tools that could simultaneously provide business intelligence to other operating areas beyond security.

As airports continue seeking out partners who share their commitment to more ecofriendly products and sustainable solutions, green camera manufacturers see an opportunity to get in on the ground floor by addressing those concerns directly with the architectural and engineering firms who are tasked with developing LEED designs for airport properties. Sharing their camera system design expertise, providing technical documentation, offering educational webinars, white papers and other support services are just a few of the ways these manufacturers are helping architectural and engineering firms devise ways to more greenly integrate network camera systems into their LEED projects.

Because innovations in green building materials continue to push the bounds of energy efficiency, the security industry as a whole has had to adapt its own technology to co-exist with those new materials and meet emerging LEED standards. In the not-to-distant future, competing for green projects might necessitate a label on every component – similar to the nutrition labels you see on cereal boxes. Manufacturers would have to list the percentage of each mineral and chemical contained in the product and its carbon footprint. And these labels would be attached to everything from the cameras and accessories to the access controllers, sensors, servers, and cabling.

For green camera manufacturers and other security industry manufacturers, sustainability isn’t simply a movement. It embodies everything they do and why they do it. It’s a lifelong commitment that begins with product develop and design and continues through the full product life cycle. It addresses everything from the environment impact of the materials that go into the product to the energy consumed during a lifetime of operation to how the product can be recycled at the end-of-life. It’s also about reducing their own carbon footprint and that of their suppliers and partners as well.

As Kermit the Frog once said, “It isn’t easy being green.” But as airports continue to partner with companies equally committed to environmental responsibility it brings everyone one step closer.

This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of Security Today.

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