Green Airport Cameras
The real process in environmental technology is happening inside the terminals
- By Anthony Incorvati
- Sep 01, 2017
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
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
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
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
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
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.