Once you’ve established your baselines and understand where most of your carbon emissions are coming from, it’s time to make some changes and start saving energy.
This is where things become interesting, of course, because of human nature! Not the band. Us. Human beings. Our affluent lifestyle means we have become lazy about using resources. Energy has been relatively cheap. Appliances are made to sit on standby so we don’t have to wait those extra few seconds for them to start up. So although it’s pretty clear that one of the things we need to do is turn that thing off already, that is easier said than done. Our ingrained habits and industrial design are stacked against us!
There are, however, things we can do to achieve lasting change. The Blue Room staff met to discuss our operations and procedures, and to identify some of the things that will enable change, or impede it. It was really great to realise that one of our great enablers is the staff itself. Everyone was keen to make a difference and work on ways to reduce our carbon emissions. That’s a huge first hurdle overcome already. (We probably all know some people who think the science isn’t credible and we don’t need to worry about carbon emissions.)
The core and casual staff had already made some quick changes in our day-to-day operations, but now we have to extend our influence to other Blue Room users. Our rehearsal rooms are well used by our members and others, out of hours and over weekends. If lights and air conditioners are left on when people leave, huge amounts of energy are wasted. How can we make sure that procedures to close down the building are followed? We’ve come up with a checklist that will be available in rehearsal rooms, and on the building keys, so room hirers have a handy guide. These procedures will be mentioned (along with the reasons behind them) when room bookings are made so it’s in the front of people’s minds.
We’re also changing the information in our producer packs so season artists are aware of our commitment to sustainability, and can think about their own contribution to it. Shutdown procedures are important here too, and our tech supervisor Roger has tips for best practice with regard to lighting desks, and so on – which include making backups so there is no accidental loss of information on turning off equipment overnight.
At season’s end we’ll be able to load drink stock into one fridge and turn the other off for a few weeks; the water heater in the change rooms will be turned off too. At Christmas when staff take holidays and the office is unoccupied, we’ll clean and turn off the little office fridge.
What we’re really trying to achieve is a culture change towards conservation of energy.
Next time: social sustainability