This Sunday is Earth Day, and it got us thinking about what we’ve been doing at Doordeck in terms of our carbon footprint, how we can help, and where we can go next. Admittedly, sustainability and doors don’t sound like two things that would particularly go hand-in-hand, or even be interesting, but hey — we did a little research and made some surprising discoveries along the way.
1. Classic access control isn’t the best at being green…
ASSA Abloy worked out that a single access card reader (like the ones you probably have scattered all over your office) consume 4.4kwh a year. They use that power 24/7/365, regardless of whether the building is actually occupied. When you’re working in an office with 100 doors, you can see how that all adds up pretty quickly.
As if that’s not enough, most door controllers (the shoebox-sized unit that sits above a door and tells it to open) each contain a lead battery that activate in case the building loses power. Of course it’s handy having a backup, but these controllers don’t usually have the best battery management — most manufacturers recommend they be surveyed or changed at least once a year.
But of course, the most visible issue from a sustainability perspective is the access cards themselves; you’ve probably got one on you right now. Whilst looking at one you might not think they’re the greatest strain on the earth’s resources, they still carry a pretty hefty carbon footprint. They’re made out of PVC, with a metal antenna sandwiched inside. Then they get shipped worldwide — and, as we discovered from a customer, a mid-size office like theirs typically replace 5,000 cards a year. At £2.50 a pop, it all becomes a pretty costly affair — both in terms of money AND plastic. Then, at the end of their life, the cards (if they’re not lost somewhere) will typically get thrown away or shredded.
2. Doordeck see things differently.
We don’t want to be responsible for contributing to these numbers. It’s why we’re really proud to have a platform that runs entirely digitally. AWS, who run our cloud platform, have their own ambitions to run on 100% renewable energy — and they’re already halfway there.
Doordeck Tiles, our equivalent of an access card reader, are made from a single piece of acrylic and crucially don’t require any power — not even a battery. We produce them right here in London, and now we’re even looking into making them with recycled plastics and woods.
When advising on new installs, we actively promote door controllers that are powered over ethernet (PoE). Not only are they easier to manage, but it means that only one backup battery is required for an entire building — not for each door.
And, instead of keycards, we embrace all the clever tech that’s already packed into your phone — just like you’d use Apple Pay. Not only is it better for the environment, but it’s also more secure than a keycard and easier to distribute. Plus, let’s face it, opening a door with just a tap of your phone is like James-Bond level of cool.
3. Company responsibility
Beyond the immediate benefits of the Doordeck platform, we’re also pretty dedicated to being as green as we can as a team.
With our office based in IDEALondon — a joint partnership between UCL, Cisco and EDF Energy — we’re in a fortunate position to have a ton of brains behind the running and upkeep of our own workspace.
I’ve recently discovered UCL Green, the university’s initiative that unites their Sustainability Team with a network of ‘Green Champions’. Their website is packed to the gills with information and ideas about how to make our workspaces even greener — one of UCL’s startups, bio-bean, even collects waste coffee grounds to turn it into biofuel.
Working with these UCL guidelines, our office recycles as much as we can, we print as little as we can, and when we do print, we use recycled paper. I even designed myself a reusable coffee cup in Doordeck colours (you can make your own here). Oh, and of course we’ve rolled out Doordeck here across IDEALondon too.
This is just the tip of the iceberg though, and we’ve got even more ideas about how we can make our spaces more green— with composting and coffee cup recycling to name a few. You can keep up with what we’re doing on Twitter and LinkedIn, and we’d love for you to come visit us here at IDEALondon to see it for yourself.