Rising Energy

Conference 12 – Delivering Sustainable Theatres

This post comes to you from Cultura21

12 June 2012 – Stratford Circus, London

The challenge of achieving the triple bottom line

Conference 12 looks at the sustainable design, development and operation of theatre buildings in relation to environmental, economic and social disciplines, and the challenges of delivering sustainable theatres for future generations. The conference will look at what sustainable development now means for theatres, what opportunities exist for theatre buildings in the new National Planning Policy Framework, how funding programmes are now promoting more sustainable capital development of theatre buildings, and what is needed to ensure theatres can meet the triple bottom line head on and continue to thrive.

The conference will explore the way how theatre buildings have addressed the sustainability agenda and introduced new technologies and adapted to meet rising energy costs, tougher environmental building standards, economic constraints and the expectations of the audiences,  and they will also share the experiences of the 48 London theatres on The Theatres Trust ERDF funded ECOVENUE project.

Conference 12 will be of interest to those trying to maximise economic, social and environmental returns from their theatre buildings through redesign, adaptation or new builds. It provides the opportunity to discuss these issues with other theatres, government and arts policy makers, theatre consultants and architects and take part in the debate.

Final deadline for registration is 9 June 2012

For more details and registration, click here.

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

Theatres Trust Conference 12: ‘Delivering Sustainable Theatres’ is open for booking

The challenge of achieving the triple bottom line

Booking is now open for The Theatres Trust’s sixth annual conference Delivering Sustainable Theatres taking place at Stratford Circus, London on Tuesday 12 June 2012.

Conference 12 looks at the sustainable design, development and operation of theatre buildings in relation to environmental, economic and social disciplines, and the challenges of delivering sustainable theatres for future generations.

Conference Chair

  • Samira Ahmed

Session Chairs

  • Dorothy Wilson MBE, Chief Executive and Artistic Director, mac, Birmingham
  • Mark Robinson, Director, Thinking Practice
  • Nick Starr, Chief Executive, National Theatre, London.

Keynote Speakers

  • Griff Rhys Jones, Chairman, Civic Voice
  • Baroness Hanham CBE, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government

The event will explore how theatre buildings have addressed the sustainability agenda and introduced new technologies, adapted to meet rising energy costs, tougher environmental building standards, economic constraints and the expectations of audiences – and see what lessons have been learnt.

In addition to showcasing the experiences of the 48 London theatres on The Theatres Trust ERDF funded ECOVENUE project, particular focus will be paid to just what sustainable development means for theatres now, what opportunities exist for theatre buildings in the new National Planning Policy Framework, how funding programmes are now promoting more sustainable capital development of theatre buildings, and what is needed to ensure theatres can meet the triple bottom line head on and continue to thrive.

Conference 12 will be of critical interest to those trying to maximise economic, social and environmental returns from their theatre buildings through redesign, adaptation or new builds. It provides the opportunity to discuss these issues with other theatres, government and arts policy makers, theatre consultants and architects and take part in the debate.

Delegates will have the opportunity to hear from many engaging speakers and leaders including: Dame Elizabeth Forgan, Chair, Arts Council England; Rosemary Squire, Ambassador Theatre Group; John Holden, DEMOS Associate and Visiting Professor, City University, London; Rab Bennetts OBE, Bennetts Associates Architects

Coinciding with the 34th ABTT Theatre Show, the Conference’s timing and location aims to maximise opportunities for the theatre sector, visitors and exhibitors to engage with both events in the dynamically evolving Olympic Borough of Newham.

Industry support is key to producing Delivering Sustainable Theatres and in 2012 The Theatres Trust is delighted to announce the support of the following organisations: Charcoalblue Ltd, Clay Paky, ETC Ltd, ShowTex, ABTT, Audio Light Systems, Martin Professional, State Automation, Northern Light, Arup, Harlequin Floors, Stage Systems, Theatre Project Consultants, White Light, Wigwam, Global Design Systems, Stage Electrics, Stratford Circus and The Society of Theatre Consultants.  Our Media Partners are Lighting & Sound International and The Stage.

The Theatres Trust

Protecting Theatres for Everyone

National Advisory Public Body for Theatres

Ecovenue and Conference 12 are funded by the European Regional Development Fund and The Theatres Trust.

 The Theatres Trust: The Theatres Trust is The National Advisory Public Body for theatres.  The Trust was established by The Theatres Trust Act 1976 ‘to promote the better protection of theatres’.  We are a statutory consultee on theatre buildings in the planning system, we provide expert advice on the sustainable development of theatre buildings, and we help promote awareness and solutions for theatres at risk.  We champion all theatres, historic, contemporary and new, in theatre use, in other uses or disused. Our central London Theatreland-based Resource Centre provides access to a specialist theatre building Reference Library including books and architectural plans. For more information: www.theatrestrust.org.uk

Ecovenue: Ecovenue is a significant theatre-specific environmental project run by The Theatres trust. It aims to improve the environmental performance for forty-eight London theatres and raise awareness of how to make theatres greener. Ecovenue is promoting the sustainability of theatres and the reduction of carbon emissions through the provision of free theatre-specific, environmental advice. Further information on Ecovenue and The Theatres Trust can be obtained from its website www.theatrestrust.org.uk

European Regional Development Fund: London European Regional Development Fund 2007 to 2013: The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is used to tackle regional disparities across Europe. The ERDF supports regional development through actions such as business innovation and support and regeneration. Working on behalf of the Mayor of London, the European Programmes Management Unit (EPMU) at the London Development Agency (LDA) is responsible for the administration of the 2007 to 2013 ERDF programme.

For futher information and images, or to register your interest please contact Suzanne McDougall suzanne.mcdougall@theatrestrust.org.uk T: 020 7836 8591  F: 020 7836 3302.

Can we change the environmental conditions in museums and galleries?

This post comes to you from the EcoMuseum

This question cut to the point for 75 cultural colleagues from across Victoria and NSW who attended a freeMuseum VictoriaArts Victoria and Sustainability Victoria seminar on the 18th of May to discover the challenges and current international position.

Julian Bickersteth, Director of International Conservation Services in Sydney, laid the groundwork for current recommendations for object storage and display conditions. An expert panel comprised of leaders from the building and environmental sectors also joined Julian. They were Professor Kate Auty (Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability), Bernard Da Cruz (Director WSP Lincolne Scott) and Pippa Connolly (Principle at Arup).

The seminar was convened amongst concern about the reality of climate change, and rising energy and product costs. Such costs are driving museums, galleries (and much of contemporary business) to reduce their carbon footprint. Unsurprisingly the maintenance of specific temperature, relative humidity (RH) and light levels is in doubt. The temp and RH international guidelines represent the major energy and money consumption in the museum, library and gallery organisations. Facing the prospect of an uncertain future, a number of international groups are driving research into the possibilities for the relaxation of the parameters museums and galleries are required to fall within.

The UK to date has been taking the lead with the NMDC (National Museum Director Conference) setting up EGOR (Environment Guidelines: Opportunities and Risks). Heading up the Australian taskforce is the AICCM (Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material). Each of these groups is involved in investigating possibilities and risks in order to promote change which will benefit the environment and organisational budgets.

EGOR (coordinated by The National Archives UK), is investigating if current environmental standards align with the conservation of the three main priorities affecting museums and galleries;

  1. Movable cultural material (collections)
  2. Cultural heritage (buildings)
  3. Communities (visitors and staff)

EGOR is investigating the implications with researchers from the disciplines of arts and humanities, conservation, science and engineering, as well as practitioner communities.

One question that keeps arising is the one of acceptable loss? Is it realistic to expect objects receive optimum temperature and RH attention considering the enormous cost energy use extracts from the environment and society? Or should we develop a different understanding around the protection of movable cultural heritage? It is conceivable that changing attitudes for reuse, renewable resources and human adaptation to climate change will alter access, presentation and interpretation of cultural heritage in the future. It may also affect how we value cultural heritage.

The following graphic from Barbara Reeve (Australian War Memorial) demonstrates safe RH humidity ranges for a range of materials and reveals that the RH range followed by museums and galleries are not required – except in isolated cases.

The following graphic from Barbara Reeve (Australian War Memorial) demonstrates safe RH humidity ranges for a range of materials and reveals that the RH range followed by museums and galleries are not required – except in isolated cases.

However the conservation needs of movable cultural heritage need to be considered in conjunction with the limitations and potential provided by the buildings they are housed in. Many of these buildings are listed cultural heritage in their own right.

Upfront capital costs to adapt buildings to achieve preservation environments are an unhappy reality that prevents many from considering this path, and yet new museums and galleries are still being designed and constructed to heavily rely on electricity. In fact many examples would be unable to support human occupants without electricity, let alone preserve precious and rare artifacts. One example from regional Victoria during the seminar cited how their efforts to bring their heritage building into the 21st century and object preservation guidelines saw their quarterly electricity bill skyrocket to 15% of their total annual budget.

So what are the alternatives EGOR and others are exploring? International interest has only recently turned toward new technologies – and more from the need to escape rising energy costs than a sense of moral responsibility toward the environment. New building designs will need to take this into account and seek advice which will allow them to make allowances and infrastructure for emerging technologies that can be retrofitted. Melbourne Museum followed this advice ten years ago when infrastructure was placed on the roof allowing for solar technology to be fitted. Solar technology is now approaching a state where this particular retrofit may be looking like a possibility.

The small museum from regional Victoria took action that can act as a guide to us all. The first step was possibly the greatest – that remedial action was not necessarily connected to anything requiring electricity. Recognising the problem was related to sustainability and environment led them to seek advice from Sustainability Victoria. After exploring a number of options the museum expanded environmental control parameters to 18C and 60% RH from current parameters (25c and 55%RH) and achieved a 33% reduction in costs.  They are also now trialling running their HVAC in 4 hour bursts. The outcomes from their research and testing will be eagerly followed by everyone who attended the seminar.

The UK, through the authority of the NMDC developed guidelines that were accepted by the European Bizot Group of major museums at their May 2009 meeting. The four primary points were led by an aim to minimise energy use;

1.     Environmental standards to become intelligent and better tailored to needs. No longer use blanket conditions for entire buildings

2.     Care of collections should not assume air conditioning

3.     Natural and sustainable environmental controls to be explored and exploited

4.     New or renovated museum buildings should aim to reduce carbon footprint as their primary objective

NMDC guiding principles for reducing museums’ carbon footprint (2009)

ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) is an organisation that advances the sciences of heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and refrigerating within the limitations of humanity and sustainability. Their 2003 specifications for museums, libraries and archival conditions recommends different ‘classes’ of control.

Class of Control Short Fluctuations plus Space Gradients Seasonal Adjustments in System Setpoint Collection Risks and Benefits
AAAPrecision control, no seasonal changes +/- 5%RH;+/- 2oC RH no change;Up 5oC / Down 5oC No risk of mechanical damage to most artifacts and paintings (so long as conditions are maintained).
AAPrecision control,

some gradients or seasonal changes but not both

+/- 5%RH;+/- 2oC Up 10% RH /Down 10% RH;

Up 5oC / Down 10oC

Small risk of mechanical damage to high-vulnerability artifacts; no mechanical risk to most artifacts, paintings, photographs, and books (so long as conditions are maintained).
APrecision control,

some gradients or seasonal changes but not both

+/- 10%RH;+/- 2oC RH no change;Up 5oC / Down 10oC Small risk of mechanical damage to high-vulnerability artifacts; no mechanical risk to most artifacts, paintings, photographs, and books (so long as conditions are maintained).
BPrecision control,

some gradients plus winter temperature setback

+/- 10%RH;+/- 2oC Up 10% RH /Down 10% RH;

Up 10oC, but not above 30 oC; Down as required to maintain RH control

Moderate risk of mechanical damage to high-vulnerability artifacts; tiny mechanical risk to most paintings, some artifacts, photographs, and books. No risk to most artifacts and books.

There are a number of new standards and guidelines incorporating environmental sustainability on this matter.
Europe CEN/TC 346

UK BSI:                *Code of Practice on Environmental guidelines PAS 198 (document will become publicly available in July 2011)

*New PD 5454 replacing BS 5454

EGOR:           *Consensus on 50% RH +/- 15%

It is important to note that the PAS 198 was developed rapidly to fulfill an immediate need and is not narrowly prescriptive. Decisions will still involve individual organisations’ preservation aims, use and display, transport, loans and the budget available for energy.

SUMMARY

There is still uncertainty whether these initiatives will actually save any money or energy. This information will no doubt present itself in time as more organisations are influenced or compelled to rethink where they most need their energy. It will be interesting to note where, geographically, the greatest savings occur, since external climate will be a factor in these results.

Major international cultural organisations who are active in this debate include the National Gallery of Denmark who has claimed it is on the way to being carbon neutral, and the Smithsonian who are recommending 37-53% RH ‘tight’ parameter, and a 30-62% RH ‘allowable’ parameter.

Discussions during the seminar forum reiterated the following perspectives;

  • Larger, more resourced institutions should be leading the debate with a view to contributing to Australasian standards;
  • Benefits of this leadership needs to be disseminated effectively to small and regional cultural organizations;
  • Building design needs to include museum professionals and account for environmentally sustainable design (ESD);
  • The advantage of long term savings from ESD capital outlays are proven, and support needed for smaller institutions to undertake ESD;
  • ESD is often dropped from the planning process for cost, schedule and other constraints. ESD is seen as a ‘feel good bonus’, and not a critical inclusion;
  • There is a need for a collegiate network to continue this debate and take it further.

There are currently no guidelines or standards from an Australasian perspective. The AICCM taskforce is currently gathering information from research, literature and projects with the view to developing guidelines for Australian conditions. The May 18 seminar served to bring those in the Victorian cultural community together to learn and share. It was clear there is a great deal of concern surrounding the future, and the ability to keep up with the rising costs of energy. However it was also clear that financial issues were not the only driver of the community, and that a genuine desire to preserve the natural environment was also a high priority. The Strategic Audit into the Victorian Government’s environmental progress (Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability) and the Greening the Arts Portfolio (Arts Victoria) are two instances of the current prioritization of the environment.

Examples from attendees (State Library of Victoria, Gippsland Maritime Museum, Museum Victoria et.al.) provided information that individual organisations were involved in research and trials on this subject, but the information was largely limited internally since there is no localised forum for them to collaborate with or feed into. With this in mind the Sustainability Victoria Arts Roundtable will look to recommending and supporting a working party. Part of the working party’s mandate will be to disseminate information and case studies, and also to work with organisations to participate and provide advice to cultural organisations wishing to explore new environmental conditions, technologies and methodologies.

Seminar attendees will be kept informed of further developments.

Useful websites:

www.climatechange.worldbank.org (climate portal)

http://www.aspo-australia.org.au/References/Bruce/ITD-ETTG-Subm-0307.pdf

www.iiconservation.org/dialogues/Plus_Minus_trans.pdf

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/information-management/projects-and-work/environmental-guidelines-opportunities-risks.htm

the EcoMuseum, is a project of Carole Hammond, Exhibition Manager and museum professional: combining the complex ideologies of aesthetics, culture, objects, entertainment…and environment.

Go to the EcoMuseum