Lighting with the EU

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Like most industries, theatre knows that it has to become greener and reduce its carbon footprints, without the need for someone to tell them, let alone have a laws made with an unreasonable time frames put in place to make it happen sooner.

But out of all the environmental carbon footprints that theatres produce lighting accounts for just 5% of the total usage, so it makes no sense to put pressure on the 5% over the other 95% that also need to be dealt with, and to make matter worse this small amount is by far the most expensive to upgrade quickly so it would surely be better to take it slowly to ensure the job is done properly plus it some of the replacements needed haven’t yet been invented and this is not because theatre is dragging it’s heals but about keeping things affordable while staying in line with industry standards. Not every theatre or creative space can afford state of the art equipment at a blink of an eye.

It is granted that lighting and it power source is the most expensive to run in a theatre so why then does the statics claim that it only accounts for no more that 5% of the total footprints used by the theatres? This is simply because it’s the length of time this equipment is used, if you think about it most performances last between two and three hours and most techs will only physically put the lights on half hour before the performance or as the audience are let into the auditorium. During creative days where lights are being focused and prepared for a performance they are only on at most a day or two.

But surely it would make more sense for the EU to deal with the power source that theatres use and those carbon footprints, which have longer lasting effect rather than the actual equipment being used? That it would then be down to the theatres themselves that would deal with the updating of equipment as ways to reduce the cost of the power being used during performance.

If legislation as it is currently written is passed in October 2018 then it would cost the creative industry over £1bn and £180m in the UK alone to have the changes completed by the 2020 deadline as it will condemns even the current most efficient lights – LEDs. So the industry would be looking at a complete new rig for each creative space, that is just not practical nor is it affordable, with no other industry having to deal with such a change it could almost be seen another nail in the coffin of the creative industry.

Things that the creative industry is doing to reduce carbon footprint in other areas of the industry the accounts of the 95%:

  • They are engaging everyone
  • The active with the 4 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle
  • Experiment and use sustainable material
  • Energy efficient
  • Design energy efficient lighting – SEE IT ALREADY IN THE AGENDA!
  • Use rechargeable batteries
  • Reduce transport
  • Recycle materials after shows
  • Monitor environment impact
  • Talk about it

On the positive side of this some of the industry’s biggest organisations have met with the EU to discuss exempting theatres from this regulation which resulted in them being charged to write the exemption for the legislation before it is passed into law in October 2018.