In addition to meeting the design and construction requirements of a Living Building Challenge certified project, The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design must be a fully functional building with all the technology services building users need to perform their daily work and business. One necessary function is audio and visual (AV) services. The rigorous performance requirements presented by the Living Building Challenge create opportunities for Georgia Tech to rethink its approach on AV equipment standards across campus and leverage technology that will minimize the power consumption of typical AV solutions.

Finding an AV Solution

A joint collaboration was led between AV consultants, Newcomb and Boyd, and the Georgia Tech’s Office of Information Technology’s AV Services team. In order to meet the net-positive energy requirements of the building, the team had to literally reduce the amount of equipment necessary to provide core AV functions to the building – less equipment usually means less energy consumption. The solution they developed leverages the networking equipment in the building to provide the AV switching transport capabilities (in lieu of traditional AV switchers) and Power-over-Ethernet (POE) to power a majority of the AV equipment in the building.

The Kendeda Building will use the AMX Harman SVSi product to transmit AV within the rooms and throughout the building. This is a highly scalable and flexible solution that uses encoders and decoders on the Georgia Tech network to transmit AV from any source to any destination. This approach eliminates the limitations that are usually inherent to traditional AV switchers – namely the number of inputs and outputs of the AV switcher. Once inputs/outputs are maxed out, the switcher needs to be replaced if additional sources or display devices are needed.  With the SVSi solution, all that is needed is an available port on the network switch.

Utilizing the AV Solution

This network solution will meet the AV needs of The Kendeda Building users and align with the building’s energy use requirements. Additionally, this approach will utilize the campuswide touch-panel user interface for uniformity and ease of use. Some of the audio requirements will use BIAMP equipment with DANTE (Digital Audio Network Through Ethernet) to transmit audio via the network. Microphones and other audio equipment will leverage DANTE to distribute audio throughout a room or the building.

Most rooms in The Kendeda Building will require users to Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD).  The two classrooms rooms and the auditorium will have fixed computers. Document cameras will be provided, but not connected to the AV system to save energy.  If users need a document camera, they can easily connect it to the HDMI connection in the rooms.  This connection will be available for all HDMI sources, to include but not limited to laptops, document cameras, and tablets.

Laser projectors, manufactured by Sony, are being used in the rooms. These projectors consume less power than standard lamp projectors providing the same lumen output. Approximately 5 years ago, these laser projectors became the standard across campus and there are currently 370 installed on campus. Several rooms will also have built-in cameras and microphones for web-conferencing and lecture capture via the BYOD or the installed computer in the two classrooms and auditorium.

The core of the AV solution will be located in the network closet.  It will comprise of one main AV rack that will manage all the AV solutions for each room.  Since the network closet will be properly conditioned for the networking equipment, it will be an ideal environment for the main AV rack. 

Moving Forward

During the first full year of operation, the team will evaluate the AV solutions and adjust as needed. As The Kendeda Building is transforming how we work, the team plans to take these AV design ideas to the rest of campus in an effort to increase energy efficiency in all of Georgia Tech’s facilities.