Excerpted from Lighting & Sound America Online, October 30, 2008:
New York City Councilman Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., chairman of the New York City Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations, hosted a hearing this week at The New Victory Theater on 42nd Street to examine the green initiatives of cultural organizations. Cora Cahan, president of The New 42nd Street, the independent, nonprofit organization charged with long-term responsibility for The New Victory Theatre as well as six other historic theatres on 42nd Street, greeted Councilman Recchia and guests.
On why his office chose The New Victory Theatre as the location for the hearing, Recchia replied, “The New Victory Theatre is a prime example of how to go green. It’s the oldest theatre in New York, and it’s landmarked, but they worked within those confines to instate various energy-saving programs, including an overhaul of the lighting and HVAC systems.”
Recchia provided a proclamation from the City of New York to The New 42nd Street for its “extraordinary contributions to New York City,” and Ms. Cahan accepted the honor on the organization’s behalf. “The New 42nd Street is committed to environmental conservation and has already reduced its carbon footprint considerably, making the organization a leader in green efforts in the theatre industry. The New 42 is continually finding new ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle and is currently working toward LEED EB Silver certification,” Ms. Cahan said.
According to Benno van Noort, director of facilities at The New 42nd Street, the organization has already implemented many of the measures that some nonprofit cultural institutions are now just discussing. “We’re in a good position to provide guidance to our friends in the theater,” van Noort added.
In his testimony, van Noort suggested that organizations just beginning to undertake green efforts should address low-hanging fruit first: Upgrade light bulbs to compact fluorescents or LEDs, implement a green cleaning program, use low VOC paints, and start a comprehensive recycling program. Then, organizations should conduct a building audit, a LEED assessment, obtain a LEED reference guide to identify specific measures to implement, and lastly, create an internal group that develops and engenders support for green activities within the organization and sustains all internal and external efforts.