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Partner perspective: ASSA ABLOY

Access control: the final frontier for energy efficient built environments

ASSA ABLOYToday, a sustainably built environment involves much more than just a collection of building products. A successful sustainable building project incorporates the best team members, technology and solutions that all work together toward a common goal. Part of this process involves sharing knowledge and educating others about strategies for implementing sustainable construction. 

According to McGraw Hill Construction (Dodge), by 2016, 55 percent of non-residential building projects will incorporate green materials and processes. 

Building requirements: beyond codes  

Many US Federal agencies and state and local governments already require or reward LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for projects. 

Net zero buildings are also creating a buzz in the marketplace. A "net zero" building is one where the total amount of energy it uses is equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site. While this may seem like a lofty goal, it is also an achievable goal.  

For example, here are two mandates: 

  1. Executive Order 13514 mandates that at least 15 percent of existing federal buildings and leases meet Energy Efficiency Guiding Principles by 2015 (you read that right - this year) with a goal of all new federal buildings achieving net zero status by 2030. 
  2. In California, all new residential construction must have zero net energy use by 2020. 

In order to achieve such incredible targets, every aspect of a building's energy-saving footprint must be considered. That includes the energy efficiency of the electronic access control (EAC) system. 

Some locks and access control hardware are more energy-efficient than others - in at least one case, up to 96 percent more. The concept of energy-efficient security systems is only just beginning.   

Everyone understands the importance of efficient HVAC systems, building envelopes, and insulated walls and windows. Yet there's still a vast lack of understanding about security technology among those who are writing the standards for green buildings, including architects, contractors, specifiers, and end users. 

Now is the time to lead this market transformation. 

Remember switching from fluorescent to LED light bulbs? 

Security professionals should be thinking about this in the same way that electrical contractors did when they began replacing every fluorescent light bulb in a facility with LEDs. 

They saw it as a value proposition, not just a way to meet mandated requirements, and emphasized the amount of money facilities would save by moving to a more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly technology. 

It's the exact same situation with today's energy-efficient electronic locking solutions, which use much less energy than traditional alternatives. 

Consider every aspect 

Whether you are designing an access control system for a client or managing sustainability objectives for an organization, it is important to be aware of the impact that access control has on a facility. 

Not only should you understand the energy consumption of the solutions you are considering, you should also research how and where the products are made, including the materials used and the environmental considerations of the manufacturing processes. 

Energy efficiency considerations and the overall impact a sustainable security system will have on a built environment offer many advantages and can be instrumental in obtaining LEED, Green Building Initiative (GBI) and other certifications. 

Never forget to look at the big picture 

While security products are clearly "going green," we are still in the early stages of a complete market shift. What is your role in this? 

You will be responsible for what the American Institute of Architects calls Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) - your work will literally be an integral part of a building's total IT, HVAC, design, construction and facilities "ecosystem." 

Buildings that transform the market, represent a convergence of every aspect of building design and construction in the rapidly approaching future, of which you can be prepared for today. 

To learn more about sustainable access control, please visit our Sustainable  ASSA ABLOY :

To calculate sustainable access control contributions, utilize our Sustainable Product calculator.