We had the opportunity to interview Kristin Bidwell, member of the AVIXA Sustainability Task Force as well as director and management consultant at ACT Associates, who gave us a quick but comprehensive overview of the evolution towards green of the ProAV world
The Sustainability Task Force is an annual initiative launched by the AVIXA Board of Directors with the aim of presenting a proposal on how to support the ProAV industry in its process of renewal towards more sustainable practices and methods. The task force aims to communicate and raise awareness of the importance of sustainability to the A/V industry by carefully examining key regulations and government decisions and by identifying practices and solutions to fill gaps between companies and regulations.
We asked Kristin Bidwell what are the main considerations to keep in mind when talking about Green in relation to the A/V world.
C – What are the key concepts for creating Green AV integration projects and events?
KB – AV integrators should access their in-house and on-site processes and have a sustainable workflow in place. A few key concepts that I suggest for integrators include using local techs to reduce travel, providing efficient vehicles that can help lower their carbon footprint, defining a process to recycle EOL (“End Of Life”) AV equipment, using recyclable and reuseable packaging materials, and training techs ahead of time to reduce the amount of site visits and therefore reducing travel time. In house, I recommend implementing solar panels, having a recycling system in place, removing all single-use plastics, and reducing office square footage if the space is underutilized. Define what works and what is slowing you down and shift to create a more efficient workflow and more educated staff, and in turn producing a better company culture and greener AV company.
C – How can green use of AV/IT equipment be realized?
KB – Implementing AV/IT equipment that promotes sustainability begins with a conversation with key stakeholders and the design team early in the design process. Sustainable initiatives should be discussed well before the AV systems are designed and installed. There are various manufacturers in the AV industry that have created products with green AV in mind. Some trends I have seen over the past few years have included removing all single use plastics from products and shipping materials, increasing the amount of aluminum in product design, reducing the use of solder, and having local shipping departments. As an AV design consultant, I look to design systems using these products, as long as they meet my design specifications.
C – Are dedicated specialists needed for production companies that want to invest in Green?
KB – It doesn’t hurt! There has been a rise in employment opportunities that focus on sustainability. We are at an interesting place in history where sustainability is no-longer on the outskirts, but including sustainable efforts in your overall corporate strategy will not only lead to a net-zero economy, but also provide your company with a competitive advantage that will lead to greater profits.
C – How do you manage life cycle analysis and ecological footprint on an AV project?
KB – We used managed services software to track the life cycle of equipment and the Clients’ ecological footprint. Through this type of platform, we are able to produce data for our clients that shows how AV equipment is performing, along with security data, network performance, energy consumption, and provide the ability for remote service.
C – How important is it, nowadays, that a project can be defined as “Green”, in terms of positioning on the market?
KB – This is very important. We have seen a large push for Green AV in European countries, partially because there have been new laws set in place. Europe is a very large market for the AV industry and thankfully the trends in Europe have begun to cause a large shift in the US AV industry. In the US, we have seen local authorities implementing these requirements as well as private companies and higher education facilities. If an AV company can provide Green AV solutions, they have the advantage over their competition.