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How can security design contribute to reduced carbon footprint?

Security By Joanna Gaweda, Consultant, Security – 26 September 2022

Close up of eye and security coding


Joanna outdoors in a black top and grey suit jacket smiling to camera

Joanna Gaweda

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Leigh Harper

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At Cundall Security, we believe that by using a risk-based approach, being pragmatic and engaging security from the very onset, you can design out vulnerabilities and contribute towards reducing the carbon footprint of your project.

To unpack these concepts, let's start with a risk-based approach. We believe that to determine the most appropriate and proportionate security solutions that are not over-engineered, it is important to adopt a risk management process. This approach allows us to assess the threats and most credible scenarios, identify the most critical assets, and understand how the scheme may be vulnerable to those. Determining the likelihood and impact of these threats allows us to evaluate the risk to our client and agree on appropriate risk treatment measures.

The next step is to develop a strategy that provides a holistic approach to security, including spatial planning, and physical, electronic, and operational measures. Taking a pragmatic approach that draws on our understanding of the risks, project objectives and constraints allows us to develop a solution that can encompass less carbon-intensive solutions.

While it's important to consider a holistic approach to security, in this blog we focus on one key aspect - spatial planning. This refers to the ways and measures to design the site and reduce the need for purpose-built products and physical measures containing embodied carbon.

If engaged early, there is the opportunity to assist landscape architects to develop a design that helps design out threats of crime and terrorism. These include creating demarcation zones that support the access strategy and movement of people and vehicles, defensive planting which acts as both a deterrent and barrier for criminal activity, and landscaping to enforce stand off from critical assets and/or provide suitable Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM).

Cundall Security has worked with clients to develop master plans that achieve the security objectives while being considerate of the aesthetic and ecological requirements of the scheme. Introducing berms and ditches which act as HVM while creating standoff, reduced the need for impact-rated products. Ditches can be used for water retention or drainage and berms have been adapted to include vegetation such as trees, and used to create visual screening and acoustic barriers. Integrating these measures helps achieve planning and aesthetic goals while reducing the need for further purpose-built measures. The inclusion of these natural measures can also utilise waste earth used during construction, minimising the amount to be removed from the site and creating ecological habitats for wildlife.

Although the flexibility in implementation of these measures will be dependent on the project requirements and constraints, we continue to look for ways in which natural security measures can be incorporated or integrated to help reduce the carbon footprint and aid effective and innovative design. Security is often seen as a barrier and we firmly believe that this is not only untrue but that we can bring great benefits for net zero design, cost saving and innovation. The key is considering security from the outset, taking a risk-based approach, and ensuring that it is a core design focus during master planning.

Joanna Gaweda is an Advocate for Zero Carbon Design 2030 based in London.