TIA announces sustainability standard for in-building technology systems

Developed in partnership with the Sustainable Technology Environments Program (STEP) Foundation, the new standard is the first to address the efficiency of systems inside of buildings, offices, theaters, residences, etc.

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The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) has announced the publication of a landmark sustainability standard for information and communications technology (ICT). Developed in partnership with the Sustainable Technology Environments Program (STEP) Foundation, the new standard is the first to address the efficiency of systems inside of buildings, offices, theaters, residences and more.

According to TIA, ANSI/TIA-4994, Standard for Sustainable Information Communications Technology, establishes the first-of-its-kind industry benchmark for sustainable energy and materials practices related to low voltage ICT systems. It provides architects, building owners, engineers, manufacturers, integrators, designers and facility managers with clear, industry-sanctioned guidelines for designing, installing and operating more efficient ICT systems.

"This is a truly landmark standard that will encourage sustainable practices and technologies, and help builders deliver high tech performance at reduced costs," said TIA CEO Scott Belcher. "There's been a significant focus on sustainable buildings in recent years, but little attention has been paid to cabling and other essential network equipment. Working with STEP, TIA has embarked on an important effort to address this gap. With this standard, anyone that builds, owns or operates a building has a clear roadmap for achieving a high level of ICT material sustainability and energy efficiency."

The standard establishes a five-phase approach to planning, implementing and measuring the sustainability impact of an ICT project – setting a clear benchmark for sustainable energy and materials practices. It applies to most building technology systems, such as video surveillance, servers and telephones, and addresses issues such as energy consumption and heat loads, which can represent a significant percentage of a facility's overall energy load and environmental impact. The result is higher performance criteria for achieving sustainability.

This standard takes a deep look at all the phases of building design from master planning to implementation. In doing so, it provides clear and specific guidance to help designers, engineers, builders, owners and operators achieve greater energy efficiency through efforts such as changing business practices or selecting more efficient equipment installs.

"This effort represents the cooperation among manufacturers and independent consulting entities from among the world's telecommunications leaders," said Glenn Sexton, Chair of TIA's Sustainable Information Communications Technology Committee (TR-42.10). "For years there has been a need to address the technology components of construction. This standard underscores TIA's commitment to sustainable practices in the design and deployment of telecommunications cabling and infrastructure."

TIA note that companies can find significant savings through sustainable solutions, which improve performance and save in life cycle costs. For example, in 2013 Sandia National Laboratories deployed the world's largest passive optical network (PON), which is projected to save $20 million over five years through reduced energy costs and replacement equipment savings.

"Sustainability is good business, but only if business is part of the process," said Charlie Fox, Executive Director of the STEP Foundation. "With TIA's expertise and industry connections, ANSI/TIA 4994 Standard for Sustainable Information Communications Technology will help project managers and building owners implement sustainable technologies and practices that will produce economic benefits for their organizations."

The TIA-4994 standard is the first of an anticipated suite of STEP ICT standards that will document process, design, integration and performance to meet sustainability criteria. The standards provide industry agreed upon criteria for achieving the maximum level of sustainability and financial benefit. As ICT systems become more interconnected, TIA and the STEP Foundation say they will continue working together to advance efficient use of ICT resources in a manner that improves business.

TIA, a founding member of the STEP Foundation, developed the standard based on the STEP rating system and guide. TIA members that participated in the standards development effort include Hitachi, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Molex, Optical Cable Corporation, Panduit, Superior Essex, 3M, Belden, CommScope, Corning, Harger, Legrand, Leviton, Northwest Information Services, SENKO, TE Connectivity, The Siemon Company, Dupont, Furukawa, UL, Hubbell Premise Wiring, Fluke Networks and Ideal Industries.

The TIA-4994 standard is available here.

For more information, contact Germaine Palangdao, TIA, at gpalangdao@tiaonline.org or Betsy Jaffe, InfoComm International for the STEP Foundation at BJaffe@infocomm.org.

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