Energy efficiency in access control
Adopting an energy efficiency access control solution can provide significant cost savings
At a time when electricity prices are going up and sustainability is high priority in the world as a whole, energy efficiency should be a key consideration when upgrading to any electronic access control solution. To highlight the key benefits of energy efficiency in access control ASSA ABLOY have released a case study about cost savings with wireless battery powered access control. As a company committed to sustainability, ASSA ABLOY is keen to get the message out to the industry. To get a deeper understanding of this issue spoke to Charles Robinson, Operations & Sustainability Analyst from ASSA ABLOY EMEA.

Q: Is the need for energy management in buildings more critical with rising electricity prices?

A: Energy management is definitely becoming an increasing focus, and there are two things to consider here. I think that end users have now realised that energy in buildings, such as light and heat, is no longer just a fixed cost. You can significantly reduce the running cost of a building by optimising the energy consumption and also utilising energy efficient solutions. When you consider the fact that energy prices are continuing to rise relentlessly, in the UK for example they have increased by about 10% year on year for the past number of years, the opportunity for cost saving through efficiency coupled with the increase in energy prices will mean energy management will definitely be an increasing focus moving forward. 

Q: When a security manager is looking for an access control solution how important is energy efficiency as a consideration among other factors? 

“Energy matters - efficiency should be a key consideration when upgrading to any electronic access control solution.”

A: Traditionally when a security manager was looking to install an access control solution there were four main considerations – product functionality, price, quality and service. As energy prices continue to rise and security managers are becoming aware of the potential to mitigate this cost increase, energy efficiency becomes an increasingly important factor to consider when choosing an access control solution.

ASSA ABLOY’s Aperio® technology provides a cost-effective energy efficient access control solution, satisfying the four traditional considerations and also addressing the issue of increasing energy prices. Available on the global market place, Aperio® enables a wide range of access control providers to cost-effectively integrate non-wired doors with mechanical locks into their access control systems.  

Q: Can you outline the key benefits to adopting a low energy access control solution, such as Aperio®, for an application? 

A: There are a few points to consider on this, if we take a little step back from just focusing on the low energy aspect of the solution, it will give us a more holistic view.

In our case study we give a clear comparison between Aperio® battery-powered access control and the traditional alternative wired access control solution, a Magnetic Lock a.k.a MagLock:

over the course of the life cycle of the product if we can dramatically reduce running cost for our end users this is a complimentary aspect of our products and it becomes an increasing focus

See large image

Figure showing cost implications when comparing a wireless lock solution over a magnetic lock solution installation in a 1,000 door student accommodation

MagLocks are heavy bulky magnets that need to be wired and connected to the electricity mains in the building. Installing a MagLock is an invasive and disruptive process. The unit needs to be wired into the building often requiring heavy drilling or in some cases tearing down walls to install the cabling. A MagLock is always powered on, consuming massive amounts of electricity, just to function. Performing routine maintenance on a MagLock can be a time consuming process. The magnets get dirty very easily which significantly reduces the holding force; jeopardising their functionality and security. If a fault is found that is not visible then the maintenance technician is required to access the wires in the walls, which again is a disruptive and time intensive process. Ultimately, the installation, operation and maintenance of MagLocks results in a high cost to the end user.

ASSA ABLOY’s Aperio® wireless access control solution can be installed on a mechanical door in a fraction of the time required to install a MagLock, with no invasive or disruptive work required. Unlike a MagLock, which is always powered on, the Aperio® battery-powered lock only wakes up when a card is presented; dramatically reducing the energy consumption over the course of the product lifecycle. An Aperio® unit consumes up to 76% less energy compared to a MagLock. This results in a significant cost saving and also a future cost avoidance, as energy prices continue to rise year on year. Using Aperio®, you are effectively future-proofing against the increasing cost of energy. Performing routine maintenance on an Aperio® unit is a very quick process. If the battery needs to be replaced or a fault is discovered, the unit can be disassembled very quickly with simple tools and all the components positioned locally; meaning no invasive work into the walls or wiring is required.

“Using energy efficient access control solutions, such as Aperio®, will ensure an easier product installation, significantly reduced energy consumption and straight forward maintenance; resulting in massive cost savings”             

Q: Is it easy to harmonise quality, functionality and energy and has it been something that ASSA ABLOY have been dedicated to for a long period of time? Is it something that has been part and parcel of your product?

A: I wouldn’t say it is easy to do; this is something that has to be a dedicated focus during the innovation process. It doesn’t happen by accident! We didn’t  suddenly realise a few years later that people are talking about sustainability and energy and we happen to have produced an energy efficient solution. Developing an energy efficient solution was part of the design process of Aperio® from the outset. Since then we have been investing to continually innovate the technology and further increase the energy efficiency of the product.

Q: In the white paper you mentioned that ASSA ABLOY is "committed to providing energy efficient door opening solutions that are environmentally sound" - Is this a new commitment based on the increase for the demand for energy efficient solutions or is this something that ASSA ABLOY have been doing for a number of years?

Battery powered access control solution saves on energy costs
Sustainability is a major issue that ASSA ABLOY has been dedicated to for a long time

A: ASSA ABLOY has been focused on sustainability for quite a number of years, so this is not a new commitment from the company. We are currently running the ASSA ABLOY Sustainability Programme. The programme was started in 2011, and our goal is to reduce our overall environmental footprint. This includes our carbon footprint, energy consumption, water consumption and hazardous waste production. The general reduction target that we’re aiming for is a 15% reduction by 2015, based on our 2010 figures, and at the moment we’re on track to achieve and quite possibly exceed our targets.

When we’re looking to develop a product, we consider the full lifecycle of the product and this includes material selection during sourcing and procurement, efficient manufacturing, optimised logistics, minimal energy consumption during product life and maximum recyclability at the end of life – all contributing to minimise the overall environmental impact of the product. With electromechanical and access control products, such as Aperio®, the majority of the environmental impact of the product is during the “energy in use” phase of the product lifecycle. Taking that into account, we ensure the product is designed to be as energy efficient as possible; this results in a lower environmental impact and reduced lifecycle cost for the end user, with reduced energy costs.

We are continuing to heavily invest in innovation, and really looking to meet and exceed our customer’s needs. At the moment we’re working with some industry leading chip and processor companies, so that we can further maximise the energy efficiency of our Aperio® wireless lock range, for example. Then to complement that, we’re investigating into opportunities to look at alternative power sources.

We market ourselves as the “Global leader in door opening solutions”, and if we want to continue to be the global leader we have to invest in our grass roots to continue to push us forward, and maintain our place as industry leaders.

“When it comes to electromechanical products the majority of the environmental impact of the product is during the “energy in use” phase of the product lifecycle”

Q: How have your customers taken to your sustainability approach?

A: Sustainability has become a massive focus now, but ASSA ABLOY has been dedicated to this for a long time. Our customers are very interested in our approach to sustainability and appreciate the massive effort we are making to improve our environmental performance. We have produced a very detailed annual sustainability report, according to the GRI (global reporting initiative), since 2006. This gives our investors and customers an opportunity to see what we are doing with regard to sustainability, in addition to our regular communication through our website and various social media channels. It is influencing a lot of our stakeholders, so internally we regularly communicate our sustainability goals and aspirations. This helps everybody to get involved, and outside the company it is definitely appreciated. 

ChaCharles Robinson, Operations & Sustainability Analyst from ASSA ABLOY EMEA Charles Robinson
Operations & 
Sustainability Analyst 
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