How to improve sustainability using smart surveillance

Andrea Sorri

More and more organizations are striving to have more sustainable business practices. For example, some are adopting practices of the circular economy, a sustainable economic model which focuses on three principles:

  1. Excluding from product design those materials that can cause waste and pollution, and/or cannot be recycled;
  2. Keeping products and materials in use for the entire extent of their lifecycle, repairing rather than substituting them;
  3. And finally, focusing on materials, that can be recycled time and time again without losing quality, like most metals

Simply put, those who want to follow this model need to look for manufacturers that create high quality, long lasting products, which can be completely recycled once they cease to function.

While being sustainable is not an easy goal to accomplish, you may be surprised to learn that your surveillance system could help you in the right direction. Your surveillance cameras, when combined with sensors, can be used to automatically monitor the environment so you can see where energy waste is occurring and adjusting things like air con and lighting as needed. This therefore cuts consumption without additional human efforts and resources being required.

4 ways you can be more sustainable using your security system

Let’s see how this works in practice. Here are four examples of how cameras and sensors can help to:

  • Improve air and noise pollution monitoring in cities
  • Regulate water consumption
  • Optimize lighting and heating systems in a building
  • Protect species at risk

Improve air and noise pollution monitoring in cities

Pollution is an increasing issue in metropolitan areas, so smart city projects often strive to reduce it.

For example, by using a combination of surveillance cameras and IoT sensors, it is possible to measure levels of pollutants in the air, noise level and vibrations during different times of the day in different neighborhoods. Network cameras can also detect when it is raining or snowing and measure its intensity. This data, combined with other sources, helps monitor the impact of rain and snowfall on pollution and traffic.

Once the city has a clear idea of the level of pollution and its causes, it can make better plans to tackle it and use the same cameras and sensors to check the progress they are making.

Regulating water usage

It is increasingly important for smart cities to regulate their usage of water, a precious resource that often ends up being wasted. Advanced, intelligent technologies, such as thermal imaging and visible light network cameras, can help monitor water supplies and regulate consumption.

For example, when irrigating a public park, cameras can record foliage and soil, crop leaf temperature and ensure automatic irrigation systems have the ability to regulate water usage with greater accuracy.

Optimizing energy consumption

Suppose you manage a building. It can be an office, a school, or a shop. A lot of your environmental impact will probably derive from consuming energy to light and heat the premises. Video analytics in surveillance cameras can be used to optimize this consumption by using real-time data. If a room is empty, cameras can detect it and cut the heating and lighting supply and maintain them only in occupied rooms.

However, switching off your lights doesn’t mean giving up safety. Cameras can be equipped with sensors that have an exceptional light sensitivity, and deliver sharp, colored images even in next-to-total darkness. Rock Hill Schools in South Carolina used this method on their campuses, and they managed to save thousands of dollars in electricity consumption, while keeping the premises safe from intrusion.

Protecting endangered species

Uncontrolled human activity is threatening one million animal species on the planet with extinction. In order to preserve them for the future, endangered species need all the protection they can get.

For example, the perimeter of a rhino sanctuary in South Africa is being guarded from poachers by a network of thermal cameras, which can pick up movement as far as 300 meters away – even in complete darkness – and raise early alarms as soon as any suspicious behavior is detected.

Combined with network horn speakers to deter potential intruders, this makes it a crucial first line of defense and ensures rangers remain one step ahead of any poachers at all times.

These are just a few examples of how cameras can help us build a more sustainable world for future generations. If you’d like to know more of how Axis is contributing, take a look at our latest Sustainability Report.

Read now