A good audio-visual (AV) system is far more than a great way to improve your presentations and keep your audience attentive. A well-designed AV system will reduce your energy consumption – saving your company money and contributing to making your office a green environment. That might sound like a big ask but the latest intelligent building- and- room control systems can do just that.
“Today it’s not enough to offer solutions such as dimming lights and automatically turning off a screen or a projector,” says Stefan Mayer, Managing Director at Corporate AV Integration. “We need to embrace a future where AV and environmental systems are tightly integrated to intelligently communicate with each other and react to varying conditions to optimise energy and cost savings. Done properly, it’s not only affordable, it’s also intelligent.”
Vendors such as Crestron and AMX use algorithms to adjust their devices in response to variables such as natural light, temperature and room usage. For example, a projector and air conditioning in a meeting room can be primed to turn on 10 minutes ahead of a scheduled meeting. Another easy win comes through using motion sensors to switch off air conditioning and lights when nobody is in a room, again cutting down on energy consumption.
Another intelligent feature is the ability to integrate window blinds into the system and programme them to change according to the position of the sun – using sunlight to warm and light your rooms, reducing heating and lighting bills. Ambient light sensors will measure the amount of natural light and adjust the window shades appropriately. The system can supplement natural light with interior lights to achieve the ideal ambience for a presentation or videoconference.
Sensors can be cleverly placed around the entire building too, so that lights are dimmed in areas close to the windows and brightened away from the windows to intelligently save electricity and give employees the optimal lighting conditions.
“The core function of a good AV system is to make meetings more efficient and interesting, of course, although statistics show otherwise. Studies have found that 25-30% of all meetings are not efficient due to poor or malfunctioning technologies like video conferencing systems and projectors or poor boardroom conditions,” Mayer says.
Troubleshooting, when a fault – or a human error – crops up disrupts the meeting often not allowing for important issues to be addressed. Automated and simplistic videoconferencing systems is an important way in which AV systems contribute to a more efficient workforce, eliminating time, money and fuel spent on travelling and also contributing to improving the green status of your office. That’s far from the only way in which AV equipment can assist a company go green. An intelligent AV strategy can save money and help to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification through reduced energy consumption.
A conference room without automation technology is almost certainly wasting energy, says Mayer. Employees tend to leave equipment on after they leave the room, especially if multiple devices are controlled by different remotes. Automation technology controls all the displays, projectors, audio and video equipment, electronic voting systems, lighting, temperature and blinds from a single, easy to use touch panel. Should the unit not be turned off, it can be pre-programmed to shut down at a certain time or at the end of the day or based on movement within the room.
A report by Frost & Sullivan into Bright Green Buildings reported that AV technology has evolved from simple, piecemeal presentation tools into integrated systems through the convergence of AV and IT. In intelligent and green buildings where comfort, energy efficiency and asset management are key, an intelligent conference room plays a big part through green features like networked projectors and LCD displays, videoconferencing, and intelligent lighting and window shades.
The technologies behind these systems are complex, but Mayer says suppliers like Corporate AV Integration focus on making sure the end user is greeted with simplicity and operator-friendly interfaces.
An AV specialist can design the most cost effective solution and create a boardroom that looks good, works efficiently and boosts your green credentials.
By Stefan Mayer