CHANGES IN the global energy supply, coupled with the expected winter demand uptick, have realised energy price increases for businesses and households across the UK. In looking for ways in which to save energy usage, access control can be a helpful solution. With this backdrop very much in mind, security technology manufacturer Paxton has just issued guidance notes on how to efficiently manage building activity and save energy through the use of access control systems.
Back in August, Ofgem announced that the energy price cap could rise by 80% to an average of £3,549 per household per year starting from October. The Government has since introduced an energy price guarantee to freeze prices at £2,500 per year for a typical household. Businesses will have their energy costs capped at around £211 per MWh for electricity and £75 per MWh for gas, which is less than half the prices anticipated this winter.
Even though the average energy bills are now lower than originally expected, there’s still a substantial increase with which households and businesses alike must contend for the foreseeable future.
For their part, businesses can reduce their bills by using smart security systems that integrate with their current infrastructure to control building activity and limit energy usage. Paxton has developed two award-winning systems – namely Net2 and Paxton10 – that provide features specifically designed to support a reduction in energy usage.
Chris Hodge, functional architect at Paxton, stated: “Security systems do not consume much energy during standard operation. They can be used to control activities on site to limit energy use by way of triggers and actions. Using the standard events within the access control software, the systems can also be employed to shut off power to equipment that’s not in use. Therefore, they can help save energy, reduce environmental impact and save money on bills.”
Triggers and actions
Net2 is a PC-based access control solution that’s ideal for managing doors and granting access to a building and facilities. Paxton10 integrates access control and video management on one platform, while also offering remote and multi-site management. Both systems offer triggers and actions that can integrate appliances and provide automated functionality.
Steve Woodbridge, Paxton’s global training manager, commented: “Triggers and actions are a series of rules that enable site activities and help when it comes to controlling users’ accessibility. For instance, facility managers can set ‘when the intruder alarm is armed’ as an event such that, when the system receives a signal to indicate an event has happened, it will then trigger the action, which can be set as ‘switch off the lights’.”
Woodbridge continued: “One feature of Net2 is centred on occupancy management. Site managers can set the occupancy level to zero and use triggers and actions to set the rule to turn the lights or heating off when the occupancy level in a given area reaches zero.”
He went on to explain: “Our latest system, Paxton10, adds another dimension by allowing site managers to establish constraints. These constraints ensure that a condition is true before an action takes place. For example, if the rule is set to automatically turn on the air conditioning when a person enters the office, the constraint may be in place to ensure that windows are closed before doing so.”
When talking about access control systems, people normally think of access through a door, but the same functionality can apply to other situations. Restricting permissions to energy-intensive appliances can ensure that only authorised personnel are making use of these services, and also that energy is being saved when the appliances are not in use.
“In some industries such as manufacturing,” noted Woodbridge, “there are machines that consume a high levels of energy. Site administrators can grant access to only the employees who are trained to use them. This can avoid unauthorised or non-related individuals wasting energy by switching them off when they’re not in use.”
Another useful energy-saving feature is remote site management. This is enabled by Paxton’s easy-to-use app entitled Paxton Connect. The app allows facility managers to remotely control their sites on smart devices from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.
“Paxton Connect brings further convenience to building managers,” urged Woodbridge. “They can manage sites instantly at the touch of a button. So, if an appliance is left switched on after working hours, they can login to the software and turn it off without travelling to the site. These features actively render building management smarter and more efficient, in turn helping to reduce energy wastage and save on bills.”
While using features in security systems can help save energy, some users may also look for physical access control products, depending on their building security requirements. Paxton offers products such as readers and door handles that can be another useful energy-saving option.
Woodbridge said: “Paxton manufactures Net2 proximity energy-saving readers. They act like a power switch. The readers are specially designed with a cover to retain a user’s card, which turns the power on and off. The product can be installed in such a way that power will only be delivered when a valid user card is inserted. When an individual leaves a given room and takes out the card, the appliances such as lights and air conditioning will automatically turn off as it’s like switching off the mains power. This can help to save energy in a simple and automated way.”
Low power wireless security
If site managers are looking for energy-friendly and secure door handles, PaxLock Pro is a ready-made solution. It’s compatible with Net2 and Paxton10, while also working as a standalone security device if that’s required.
Chris Hodge concluded: “PaxLock Pro is a battery-run product and is efficiently designed to consume minimal energy to operate. Batteries generally last around two years. PaxLock Pro will enter a sleep mode when not in use, requiring minimal energy. Built-in capacitive sensors wake the unit when operation is required and a user’s token is presented. This minimises energy consumption, especially so at night or over weekends when the handles are in less use.”
*Further information is available online at www.paxton-access.com