There was a period a few years back when everyone in the industry seemed to be talking about green AV. LEED certifications were a frequent topic of conversation, industry-wide standards were discussed, and numerous products were launched that touted their eco-friendliness.

Recently, though it feels like the talk has quieted down a bit. Products may still be eco-friendly, some even more than before, but that’s not usually the first thing mentioned about it on the tradeshow floor. But just because the messaging has changed doesn’t necessarily mean the conversations aren’t still happening.

“It’s really interesting that the narrative has died off, but I’ve seen the applications increase,” said Lauren Simmen, marketing manager, SurgeX. “Five, 10 years ago, everybody was talking about it, nobody was doing it; and now nobody’s talking about it, but everybody’s doing it.”

That may be particularly true when it comes to energy management. The prevalence of—and refinements to—automated systems has started to make smart energy conservation more commonplace, a generally understood aspect of the overall system installation.

“Energy efficiency in systems designs are table stakes today,” said Brad Sousa, CTO, AVI Systems. “Good engineering practices are expected to address power consumption calculations, and expectations as part of the baseline design efforts.”

Helping to eliminate standby power is one of the main elements these solutions target, and it’s one of the main concerns of end users. Corporations where meeting rooms sit empty for a couple days with a display at the ready, classrooms where components in the rack are still running following a lecture—there are a million various things that an energy management solution may be able to monitor and deal with.

The general power conversation with clients can lead to larger ones about overall efficiencies. “The number one question is usually about the basic level of cutting off power that’s not being used. It’s where they see themselves going for energy efficiency,” said Simmen. “And then as they get into it, they usually come up with other things, and realize the breadth of what we can do with an energy management systems.”

Christos Desalernos, Nortek Security and Control Power product manager, agrees, noting the company’s customers “like to have reports for their energy usage and power integrity.”

Looking Towards the Future

Another piece of the efficiency puzzle is the customer’s increasing general knowledge base. More people are coming to accept that we need to be more conscientious energy users, not just for the bottom line, but for the impact energy use has on the environment.

“There are a growing number of people who understand that the best thing we can do for our infrastructure and the environment is to maximize the use of all forms of energy,” said Joe Piccirilli, managing director and chief executive officer for RoseWater Energy Group, who predicts changes will be seen in how energy is delivered. “I believe we will see individual micro grids. Each home or building will have the ability to incorporate renewable energy, the grid, and energy storage to provide consistent, reliable, and affordable energy to meet all of their needs.”

Additionally, to address overall changes to social environmentalism, companies that provide solutions for energy management may increasingly approach their entire manufacturing process to provide solutions that their customers can, with confidence, know are as environmentally sound as they can be.

“As the landscape of the environment changes, we have to look at what we’re doing to the environment and how it’s having an impact on not only on where we are now, but where we’re going to be in 30, 50, or 100 years,” Simmen said. “As a corporation, you have to take those things into consideration, even just from the perspective of let’s do our part to minimize impact as much as possible and do what we can to help others minimize impact.”

Mary Bakija is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, NY.

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