If you had to guess where you use the most energy, you’d probably say in heating or cooling your home, using appliances (like the fridge), and heating water. And unless you have a photovoltaic array on your roof, then purchased energy would be the main component of your carbon emissions. It’s pretty much the same for The Blue Room Theatre, although the mix of use is a little bit different from the domestic setting.
We use air conditioning day and night: in the day time to maintain a comfortable working environment for the staff; and in the evenings to provide a chilled space for performers and audience, especially during Summer Nights, or a cosy space in the cooler months. And we run a glass-fronted bar fridge, and a double-door catering fridge. (And a fridge in the office, and a fridge in the kitchen.) We also run theatre lights. A lot of them. So it was no surprise that electricity use is the major component of our carbon footprint.
And as the whiz-bang standards for counting carbon include line transmission losses, this gives us some serious food for thought about strategies for reducing our carbon output. A PV array would give an instant saving of close to 10% on line transmission loss for all energy produced on site. But in the first instance, the knowledge that 82% of our carbon emissions come from electricity use gives a pretty clear indication that some simple efficiencies could have big payoffs.
Here’s what the SimplyCarbon team said in the executive summary of their report:
In 2012, The Blue Room Theatre, located at the Perth Cultural Centre, made a commitment to reduce its carbon footprint and thus, environmental impact. This report provides the results from a carbon audit undertaken by SimplyCarbon and suggests various strategies to reduce Blue Room Theatre’s operational emissions. The report is based on data gathered for the calendar year 1 January 2012 – 31 December 2012.
The largest source of emissions was found to come from electricity usage (Scope 2 emission) representing approximately 80% of the total carbon footprint, or 90% including the transmission and distribution losses associated with electricity (Scope 3 emission). An energy audit was subsequently undertaken and revealed that heating, ventilation and air conditioning were the largest consumers of electricity representing 34%, while the hot water systems and fridges contributed 30% of total electricity consumption.
The Blue Room Theatre has identified that it is in a unique position to positively influence a wide range of arts organisations around issues of sustainability. Undertaking this inventory was the first step in achieving the BRT’s objective of understanding the emissions profile of their organisation and working towards reducing their impact on the environment. This can now be used as an educational tool to help build capacity within the organisation by collaboratively identifying the next steps forward for BRT.
Next time: No excuses, time to act