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Assimilating Energy Efficiency into Security
a&s International 2011/4/20

Newer physical security products are made and used with energy conservation in mind. Continued efforts in R&D for products that utilize renewable energy sources while preventing excessive power usage have their role to play in ensuring a longer living earth.

Newer physical security products are made and used with energy conservation in mind. Continued efforts in R&D for products that utilize renewable energy sources while preventing excessive power usage have their role to play in ensuring a longer living earth.

Many security electronics, sensors, detectors, access control devices and surveillance cameras can be designed and implemented to help meet LEED certification by understanding the characteristic of the buildings and the potential energy saving of each end user. “Most energy consumption in the building, which is generally around 60 percent, is used by HVAC and other electricity and water usage,” said Vincentius Liong, Director of Integrated Security System Solutions, Elektrodata Sistem Integrasi. “By implementing the proper security equipment product range — sensors and detectors, access control, surveillance cameras with motion detection, and more — integrated with the building automation system (BAS), a building manager could properly control, manage and monitor the usage of energy, electricity and water usage in the building.”

Physical security systems contribute to the BAS in terms of locating people in a building with efficient access control and occupancy sensors to determine the headcount per floor or per zone, said David Wilts, Director of Integrated Building Technology, Crestron Electronics. “We have worked on many projects where the occupancy sensor in the conference room turns the lights and AV system on and off, recalls shade settings, adjusts the set-point for the local thermostat, and tells the calendar application whether or not people showed up for the meeting. If no one showed up for the meeting, the room automatically became available again in the calendar.” There is a large opportunity to leverage the security system for energy efficiency and LEED efforts.

“LEED recognition does help keep an eye on the quality of products used to achieve green building goals,” said Peter Boriskin, Director of Product Management, UTC Fire & Security. “Efforts like LEED will become even more established and widespread in the near future to help initiate more green building projects and awareness.”

Shutting off power to conserve energy directly outside peak hours is common in green buildings. Temporary electricity suspension in response to excessive power usage or natural disasters is also a more frequent occurrence nowadays. Unfortunately this interregnum cannot happen to a reliable and active surveillance system, as emergency situations could happen any time. Security solutions must have a backup power mechanism, like an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), or else they fail in their foremost function, said Dave Bartlett, VP of Smarter Buildings, IBM.

City code requirements of backup measures in smart buildings are essentially the same as traditional buildings. “In terms of what is available beyond regulated by the codes, typically a backup system would leverage the building's energy generating system,” Boriskin said. “There is more adoption of solarpowered cameras, especially in remote locations, which conserves energy usage as well as providing the power needed.”

[NextPage]“One of the key components of a security system is a battery backup, although this is not a very green solution,” said Ryan Hughson, PM at Delta Controls. “Using alternative energy sources, such as photovoltaic power, can reduce the power requirements of the system, therefore making it more efficient and last longer.”

Renewable energy sources like photovoltaic panels or wind power feed a battery bank, which in turn feeds the building's power infrastructure, Wilts added. This could easily provide the UPS for security systems in an intelligent building.

Security implementations for residential and commercial intelligent building differ in scope and complexity. “In terms of scope and capabilities, commercial-grade security management is designed more around the network, with an emphasis on the interoperability with third-party systems. There are typically more designing done to these projects,” Boriskin said. “Conversely, residential buildings often use one-vendor solution only. Except for mid- or high-rise apartment complexes, i f the residential building is a stand-alone complex, it typically would not need networking capabilities, scalability or third-party integration.”

“This makes things both easier and harder depending on different circumstances,” Boriskin continued. “A one-vendor solution allows vendors to provide an easy-to-use system for end users. However, if other third-party systems need to be integrated into the existing infrastructure, integration would not be easy or easily modified in the field. Basically, if it doesn't come in the box then the performance is not there.”

Continuous R&D efforts in greener and smarter security products will facilitate the spread of intelligent buildings to save the planet. “In the past decade or so, the focus has typically been on protecting data centers and the IT resources which enterprises own,” Bartlett said. “We now need more R&D investment in security management for non-IT assets. Vendors of sensors and actuators must work with companies that can provide an integrated hardware-software solution to embed within their products. The added cost of adding security to these devices must be absorbed using more intelligent ‘system-on-aboard' silicon design. Investments in enterprise security software solutions must be leveraged to encompass these sensors.”

Smart/green building awareness could be better promoted through education on available technology and current cost considerations. “There is a misnomer in certain areas that going green equals added costs,” Boriskin said. “Once people realize that it is an opportunity to do what is right for the environment, while bringing cost benefits, acceptance and adoption of smart/green building initiatives would increase. As of now, the up-front cost of new smart/green buildings is coming down. More governments are spreading awareness by giving tax credits and constructing public green structures that people can point to and learn from.” Energy-efficient and intelligent security products will have a chance to grow and expand with this vertical.

“We see great growth potential in this vertical and are optimistic for the market situation in the next few years,” Boriskin added.

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