Green Guarding: A Dual Perspective

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By Eric Crabb

In the security industry, a key success factor is the ability to sense changing requirements and adapt accordingly. For most security professionals this means recommending the latest access control, visitor management, or even secure identity technology. Often, guards may encourage other kinds of technology or even services—in energy efficiency, for example. It can be helpful to facility professionals who’ve hired these guards to benefit from their additional training in areas related to sustainability.
 
Green Guarding is a concept through which security officers on patrol at a building are trained to be knowledgeable in energy efficiency and sustainability. Security officers are in a position to see most areas of a building, so they can identify areas where organizations can be more “green”.  Security guards are trained observers, so although it is not necessarily one of their primary responsibilities, guards can often notice opportunities to promote a more sustainable environment while fine-tuning their skill set.A security guard patrols outside a building at night.
 
For example, while patrolling a company’s perimeter and parking lot, an astute security officer might notice that the lighting systems are old and therefore are not very bright while drawing a lot of electricity. He or she could recommend a new LED lighting system for the parking lot that would greatly enhance security while cutting energy costs.
 
For instance, the City of Oakland, California transformed an antiquated parking garage at 1250 Martin Luther King Way into a safer, ultramodern energy efficient facility by installing state-of-the-art high efficiency fluorescent and LED lighting, and wireless (Zigbee) lighting controls that reduced energy use. The energy saving enhancements also allowed for the installation of several ChargePoint® EV charging stations, without the need to upgrade the facility’s existing electrical system. The result was a 45% energy savings, along with the new electronic vehicle (EV) charging stations.  Certainly, the revamped lighting also provides peace of mind to those visiting the garage as well.
 
While inside buildings, security guards can spot other ways to be green or sustainable, too. For example a guard on patrol might identify areas where HVAC systems are not working properly or could be upgraded. Additionally, listening for drip system leaks, smelling excessive fumes, and touching electronics to determine if they are hot and still powered after hours are all simple methods to identify wasteful practices that could be rectified in an effort to be lean and green.

Crabb is vice president of service integration at ABM Security Services.

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