woman using mobile phone to unlock door

Five Ways Access Control Can Lower Your Carbon Footprint

Sustainable solutions are becoming more mainstream and accessible, as many people are recognizing the need to seek greener solutions. In a recent study by Unilever, for instance, 33 percent of consumers reported choosing to buy and support brands they believe are doing social or environmental good. In fact, in the same study, 53 percent of shoppers in the United Kingdom, 78 percent in the United States and more than 80 percent in emerging markets said they feel better when they buy products that are sustainably produced. The trend isn’t limited just to consumers.

Increasingly, more organizations are re-evaluating their carbon footprint and proactively reviewing and implementing solutions that support sustainability, including physical access control technologies. The physical access control market is playing an important part and signaling a shift in how design and functionality can better serve us and the generations to come. Thankfully, there are many available options out there that can reduce energy consumption, along with materials that produce little to no waste.  

Manufacturers of access control products are indeed helping to lead sustainability efforts, and by developing energy-efficient readers and mobile credential technology, they’re adding physical access control options to the growing realm of green initiatives. By applying sustainable construction and design practices for new builds and/or during facility upgrades, organizations themselves are following that lead and aligning their initiatives with those that lead the green building movement.

Five Ways Access Control Can Lower the Carbon Footprint

1) Link Access Control With Building Management Systems
A significant sustainability trend gaining traction is implementing energy management and building automation systems that incorporate heating and cooling, access control, lighting, and other sensors that work together to reduce energy consumption based on usage. According to new research from Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia, the intelligent building market is growing by 31 percent each year and is projected to exceed $59 billion by 2023. Demand is being driven by government regulation considerations and the desire for reduced operating costs which include more extensive monitoring, control and operability. And, according to IHS Markit analysis and the 2018 Smart Buildings Report, electronic access control systems are the leading type of security system being integrated into building management platforms.

2) Combine Electronic Access Control & Location Services
Leading-edge physical access control manufacturers offer location services that are helping advance the cause by providing real-time, actionable occupancy data. This data can give users a clearer picture of how their building is being used and information on when and where services like HVAC and lighting can be adjusted for energy efficiency and cost savings.

3) Look for Certifications & Transparency
Many companies seek verification from the International Organization for Standardization to provide disclosure regarding the environmental impact of their products or systems. Certifications can also be achieved that validate green building specifications, waste reduction, increased energy efficiency and other meaningful efforts to increase sustainability. Access control products can also achieve these declarations and certifications and many enterprises are seeking them out when making access product purchasing decisions. Here are some key ones to look for:

  • Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) - A standardization of material disclosure and impact (but not a certification).
  • LEED Certification Contribution - Internationally accepted benchmark for green buildings.
  • Zero Waste to Landfill Certification - Recognizes a company’s efforts to divert waste from a landfill through increased reuse, recycling or recovery efforts.
  • Investing in physical access control solutions that are certified to contribute to green building initiatives or aim to reduce waste can help lower an organization’s carbon footprint.
  • GreenCircle™ - An independent, third-party validation for sustainability claims. The GreenCircle Energy Savings certification provides documentation that the product delivers the energy savings it claims.

4) Utilize Power Management
There are access control readers that have a built-in option to select a power saving mode. These readers should be used where there’s less traffic and configured to enter intelligent power mode (IPM) when not in use.

5) Integrate Mobile Credentials
Global adoption of mobile credentials used for physical access control is increasing at record pace with more than 85 million mobile credentials projected to be in use by 2022. Organizations looking to reduce waste may opt for mobile credentials to eliminate or decrease use of plastic cards to reduce impact on the environment. Adding access control credentials to a mobile device means added convenience. Users don’t have to carry or store an additional fob or card to access secure locations, networks, time and attendance systems, or to release documents from a network printer or make purchases from a vending machine. And, because mobile devices are constantly connected, administrators can issue, manage and revoke credentials over the air, saving time for both security staff and human resources.

And there’s more good news — mobile devices offer an added layer of security. Users are so attached to their mobile devices (When was the last time you lost your phone, lent it to a friend, or didn’t know where it was?) they are very likely to have already put privacy safeguards on to prevent others from gaining access.

We’re all moving forward together with the common goal of reducing our carbon footprint and opting for greener, more sustainable solutions. The security industry has much to be proud of for aiding in that effort by delivering physical access control solutions that are sustainable and helping ensure a greener world for generations to come.

Check out the Access Control & Sustainability infographic to learn more about the role of physical access control in sustainability efforts.

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