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Sustainable and Secure

Rick Gallant, ESNT

With Earth Day having been last month and spring now in full bloom, you can’t help but start thinking more about nature and the impact on our planet we all have. I’m sure you’ve heard numerous reports over the past year on how the pandemic has helped nature to heal and recover due to lockdowns and the cutting back of carbon emissions (In fact while on that topic, check out this interesting documentary on AppleTV+ called “The Year the Earth Changed” that is actually pretty fun to watch:

After thinking about all of this it led me to think: what is our industry doing right now to contribute to a healthier planet in creating more sustainable options? If one thing is for certain, the pandemic has taught us that our lives will never be the same again.  We have to adapt to the changed circumstances and move forward.  

For the first year of this pandemic we have seen a flurry of marketing come forward for healthier, safer and hygienic door openings. But, to be honest with you, most of these products already existed and were just simply pushed to the forefront to capitalize on the situation at hand.  Long term, will these products continue to be featured as a hot item? Not likely. In fact, from what I’ve seen over the past few months the marketing push for these has died down. Yes, they are important for many different applications but why not look at products that will have an everlasting effect? Products that will be important all of the time? This is where more earth-friendly, sustainable solutions come into view.

So, as leaders in our industry in recommending, designing and selling door opening solutions, including door hardware, access control, security and the like, what part can we play to contribute to a more sustainable opening solution?

Well, if we take the time to do a little research you will find there are a few product options out there. So as a little exercise, let’s try and build an electrified door opening with as many sustainable products as we can. 

To help us do this we will take a look at one of the leaders in this area in terms of electrified door hardware, Assa Abloy Electronic Security Hardware

  1. Power Supply - Securitron EcoPower Power Supply

This product is great if you have a single door opening with either a low current draw electric lock or electric strike that will be operated by a card reader/access control system.  What makes this product a good choice is that it provides a 99% power consumption decrease compared to conventional linear or switch mode power supplies and the footprint of the unit is small (only 4” x 4”).  It also includes its own built-in battery that provides 24 hour backup and like a lot of Securitron products, comes with a lifetime warranty.  NOTE - the power supply can only provide 0.5A of current so be mindful of that when calculating the total current draw of all devices this unit will power.

  1. Auto Door Operator - Norton ADEZ Power Door Operator

This power door operator requires no hardwired power to operate and also acts as a regular door closer to facilitate manual door control. The cool thing about it is that while the door is cycling open by people pushing or pulling the door, it charges it’s onboard battery pack.  Then when someone approaches the door who needs to open it automatically, the user presses a wall switch which then transmits a signal to the RF receiver built into this operator to open the door automatically. This is a great option for openings that only need to be opened automatically about 25% or less.

  1. Electric Lock - Sargent Eco-Flex Mortise Lock

EcoFlex electrified mortise locks reduce energy consumption up to 96% and EcoFlex electrified exit trims up to 95%. This product has one a number of awards and based on my experience it is a very reliable, excellent solution.  It’s strong, efficient and while actuated draws very little power. Check out the link below for more info:

4. Magnetic Lock - Securitron M380E

Declared as the most energy efficient magnetic lock on the market today, this unit offers an 80% reduction in energy and is even offered with a built-in request to exit motion sensor so that an additional device is not required to be specified for security, thus saving time and money.

5. Electric Strikes - HES 1006, 1500 and 1600

*HES 1600 model pictured

These electric strike models from Assa Abloy ESH include complete Environmental Product Declarations (EPD), which presents quantified environment data for products or systems based on it’s life cycle assessment.  Assa Abloy Electronic Security Hardware has earned EPDs for several of their products so they are a reliable source for meeting this criteria.  For projects with new construction, EPDs are becoming more and more common.

This is just a sample of what’s on the market today.  But, I think you will agree that as a whole our industry has a lot of ground to cover when it comes to offering sustainable products.  In fact, if you try searching for them online, you will be hard pressed to find products that are available right now. I think based on what’s happened over the last year and thinking more about our impact and the role we play, we can definitely do better. But, even right now there are small things we can do to make improvements when designing a door opening or a security solution.  

Here are some additional things to consider:

  1. Using Power Over Ethernet devices instead of traditional power.  This reduces the amount of cables being used and # of power supplies
  2. For access control openings, using wireless locks instead of hardwired (where possible)
  3. Keeping designs simple.  Does that door opening really need a door contact and request-to-exit  sensor if it will be used for keyless entry only?

Yes, there is much we can do to contribute to sustainability, even in small ways.

In addition, I would be curious to know if there are any sustainable access control products out there? I couldn’t seem to find very many when doing my search but I look forward to the future and hope that manufacturers in the security and door hardware industry are looking at this aspect of their business more closely. 

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