Why Sustainability and Security are Equally Important to Facility Management

The two primary priorities in building design in the 21st century are security and sustainability. There is a chance that these goals may conflict with each other. Take a parking lot for example. The sustainability designer will pitch for trees and bushes to miminise the urban heat island effect. The security consultant will argue that trees block surveillance cameras and provide hiding places for would-be criminals.

In a building, there is no shortage of potential conflicts, however these can be resolved to the mutual benefit of both parties. The result of this resolution is sustainable and secure facilities.

Disciplines Working Together

The mix of security and sustainability efficiencies is best achieved when multiple disciplines work together in the early stages of the build. As Daniel O’Neill president of Applied Risk Management says, “when security is brought to the table with other stakeholders early on in the building's design, it becomes possible to integrate security and sustainability so that both are maximised. The risk management and sustainability solutions that can be found through such integration will benefit all the stakeholders involved.”

O’Neill goes onto say, “Facility executives should seek a balance of sustainability and security from the beginning of the design process. Owners and architects should take into consideration potential threats to which the building might be exposed. Threat-based risk assessments (TRAs) should be conducted to identify threats, including those due to local crime and natural disasters, as well as insider, outsider, and other business threats. In many cases, this approach serves to reduce the need for costly systems that provide minimal security benefits.”

The establishment of an integrated design process where all of the design team members understand each other's goals can aid in overcoming any challenges and will lead to the development of solutions that address all of the requirements.

Security in design

Another consideration is to integrate design solutions that are both sustainable and security focused from the outset.

Boon Edam recognised early that sustainable building is a trend that is here to stay and that a building’s entry can play a major role in ensuring that energy consumption and carbon footprint are minimised, whilst security is maximised. As one mobility hotspot can lead to different destinations, it is imperative for facility managers to ensure that each visitor finds their destination safely and that no-go zones within the building are not breached.

“Security has developed from desperate attempts to block unwanted people, to much more sophisticated and user friendly systems because you want 99% of people to have a safe, unhindered and comfortable entrance experience,” says Lourens Beijer, Boon Edam’s Chief Commercial Officer.

There is also a high level of sophistication with entry solutions in terms of sustainability and attention to carbon footprint.

“Revolving door products were invented over 100 years ago with a focus on saving energy,” Beijer says.It goes without saying then, that today’s products are the most energy efficient we have ever seen. The Tourniket for instance, works along the “always open, always closed” principle that ensures that the entry remains open and welcoming to visitors but keeps heat or cold, rain and noise out. It achieves a comfortable working environment and saves energy. Or the Speedlane that is equal parts security and sustainability. As the user approaches, the Speedlane comes to life. A pulse of light travels along the unit drawing the eye up; a modern arrow symbol directs the user through, as a panel lights up within the smooth black curved glass top, inviting the user to present a valid ‘pass’; a ‘pass’ is presented and upon authorisation, the barrier opens and the user is guided through as the pulse of light travels across the lane. The cycle is complete and the Speedlane is ready for its next user. After a set time period without user engagement, the Speedlane will fall back to sleep to save energy.The integration of security and sustainability is no longer as difficult as it once was and clashes need not occur because there are building and design solutions on the market today that are built for both purposes. The smart builder will look for those products and implement them at design stage.

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