Energy Consumption

Barbizon Lighting Company’s New Light Initiative

Barbizon Lighting Company has rolled out a new program called New Light Initiative. The “NLI” team is working within our organization to implement sustainable practices into all facets of Barbizon¹s operations. We are also developing educational materials to be used both internally to promote sustainable practices within Barbizon and externally to educate our customers and the industry.

The lighting systems in theatres, television studios, and even in houses of worship are among the least energy-efficient parts of those buildings. Cutting energy consumption, whether in a new building or throughout an existing system, can be an overwhelming task for a facilities manager, technical director, or staff technician to undertake on their own. That is why many in the industry rely on Barbizon¹s expertise to help them create a sustainability plan that is tailor-made for a specific facility¹s needs and usage.

Barbizon has over 60 years experience in the lighting industry and our staff, including a full-time LEED-accredited professional, understand the technology and benefits of the wealth of products available as well as the application challenges of a lighting system. Barbizon is uniquely positioned to provide you with the energy efficient solutions for the entire lighting system meeting your technological and design requirements.

“Barbizon’s commitment to sustainable practices encompasses our own operational efforts as well as encouraging sustainability in our industry through research and education. Barbizon’s business model has always been about providing our customers with access to products and information from which they can make choices.” Jonathan Resnick, President – Barbizon Lighting Company

“Sustainability in any form is most successful as a choice. Our New Light Initiative has been created to ensure that people have the factual information needed to make good choices in sustainability.” Steve Cullipher, Barbizon Florida Systems Manager, LEED AP

Barbizon New Light Initiative PDF

CalArts Alumnus Stephen Nowlin’s ENERGY Show Extended Through January 23, 2011

Director of the Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and CalArts alumnus, Stephen Nowlin (BFA Design 71) has curated a beautiful and multifaceted exhibition, simply titled ENERGY, which is currently on view at Art Center through Jan. 23, 2011.

Nowlin has long been a significant voice in the contemporary discourse between art and science. In his 18 years as director of the Willamson Gallery he has curated a number of exhibitions exploring this relationship, often partnering with colleagues at Caltech, and featuring artists who work at the intersection of art and science.

The exhibition includes two large-scale video and sculpture installations by L.A. artist Rebeca Méndez; a series of works by New York photographer Richard Barnes; small-scale archival videos documenting post-war growth in energy consumption and Cold War fears driving the development of atomic weapons; and artifacts from scientific exploration at the beginning of the modern industrial era.

Finally, to directly connect ENERGY to Art Center’s students, Nowlin invited a class called “Design for Sustainability” to install its solutions to energy-based assignments on a wall in the exhibit. As it unfolds over the course of the semester, the wall continually changes, becoming “like a performance piece”–pedagogy on display. Assignments revolve around a designed product’s extended life-cycle analysis. Working within the context of the exhibition, says Nowlin, “reminds students that if they want to be enlightened designers for the 21st century, they need to understand issues relating humans to their environment. And to do that, they must factor science into their design equations.”

In June 2011 The Institute for Figuring, founded by Chair of CalArts’ Writing Program in the School of Critical Studies, Christine Wertheim, and her sister Margaret Wertheim, will bring their Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef to the Williamson Gallery. Currently on view at the Smithsonian Institution’s Sant Ocean Hall in Washington, D.C. through April 24, 2011, The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef, weaves together strands of art, science, mathematics, and conservation.

More information about the current exhibition can be found on the Williamson Gallery’s website or on its Facebook page.


Willamson Gallery

Art Center College of Design

1700 Lida St., Pasadena

through Jan. 23, 2011

via 24700 » Blog Archive » CalArts Alumnus Stephen Nowlin’s ENERGY Show Extended Through January 23, 2011.

Arcola Theatre launches hydrogen fuel cell powered lighting at Latitude Festival


Building on its success of the past 2 years, Arcola Theatre are once again providing low energy lighting and fuel cell power to the theatre stage; and this year we are providing sound as well.

In 2008 when the theatre tent was much smaller, we powered the whole lighting rig with a 5kW fuel cell, using low energy lighting fixtures including LED and low power tungsten lamps. In 2009 the tent grew to its present size, but, with a smaller stage and audience on fewer sides, we were just about able to power the rig on 5kW, with a little extra generator power for particularly bright scenes.

This year, with large stage, audiences on all sides and greatly increased technical expectations, lighting demands are significantly higher than in previous years. Luckily, great improvements in LED technology in the past 12 months mean that they can still play a role. We have thus switched our approach – instead of doing the best we can with 5kW, we are experimenting with the latest LED fixtures. With greatly improved light output and colour rendering there are LED fixtures emerging which can replace tungsten lamps even in mid-scale theatres. This lighting rig gives designers an opportunity to trial these technologies.

Theatre Stage

There has been much less popular attention given to low energy approaches to sound and thus we were keen this year to see what is possible. To ensure that there was no compromise in quality, we have enlisted the support of Steve Mayo, head of sound at the Barbican and a new industry partner Dobson Sound.

In these first trials our focus is on cutting energy consumption by two means – first by getting the right amount of sound in the right place, hence the skilled system designer, and second by improving system efficiency by using amplifiers employing pulse-width-modulation (D class) which use nearly 50% less power than a comparable solid state amplifier. We hope it goes well…


This year Arcola Theatre has launched a new strand of work developing low energy technologies for the live arts industry. Thus we have installed 7 of our new HyLight150 fuel cell powered lighting systems across the Latitude Festival site; providing lighting for everything from marquees, to forest performances to production areas, as well as powering laptops, phone chargers and ticket machines.

HyLight 150

HyLight is the first fuel cell product to be developed specifically for the events industry and offers the high reliability demanded through an onboard ‘brain’ which monitors performance and seamlessly switches to battery back-up in
case of fault or user error.

Running on hydrogen, with a run time of over 50 hours between refills, the system produces zero emissions and is almost silent. Carbon emission reductions of up to 60% are likely in performance settings through use of the latest LED lighting. The system is also perfect for safety and security lighting where emission reductions of up to 90% are possible by displacing the ubiquitous 500W garage floodlight with 15W LED alternatives.

Arcola developed HyLight with a consortium including regular partners – hydrogen gas producer BOC and leading events industry supplier White Light who also support our work with the Theatre Arena. A new partner is Horizon Fuel Cell, manufacturer of the fuel cell at the heart of HyLight. A family of larger HyLight products is now planned, built around Horizon’s extensive range of low cost, light weight fuel cell systems.


Press Release – Fuel Cells Across Latitude Festival

Latitude Photo Gallery

Latitude Leaflet

Hylight @ Arcola Energy Store

Go to Arcola Energy

Julie’s Bicycle Helps UK Theatres Cut Carbon

Reprinted from The Guardian: “Green Dreams: How Can Theatre Cut Its Carbon Emissions?” by Chris Wilkinson, June 29, 2010

As the financial climate gets ever chillier, much has been said about the need for theatre companies to band together if they are to survive the coming cuts. So it is good to see that a new spirit of cooperation is now developing across the industry – albeit in response to an entirely different climate. The curiously named Julie’s Bicycle – an organisation that exists to help the creative industries lower their greenhouse gas emissions – has recently announced the launch of a “UK-wide theatre programme” aimed at helping theatres play their part in the fight against climate change.

Of course, for some theatres, an interest in the environment is nothing new. There have been individual efforts going on for a number of years now. Some companies are building theatres that are literally recycled, the National Theatre has been working with Philips to reduce its energy consumption and east London’s Arcola theatre has made itself the industry leader with its hugely impressive Arcola Energy project.

Yet what is particularly exciting about this new initiative is that it seeks to foster a much greater level of cooperation across the industry as a whole. The aim of Julie’s Bicycle is to bring together producers from both the commercial and subsidised sectors, and they have already attracted some of the biggest names on both sides of the theatrical divide. A steering committee for the project has been set up, chaired by Nick Starr, the executive director of the National Theatre, which boasts representatives from organisations as diverse as Cameron Mackintosh Productions, Glyndebourne, the National Theatres of Scotland and Wales, the RSC and many others.

Sian Alexander, Julie’s Bicycle’s associate director for theatre, says this shows that there is a “huge appetite” in the industry for tackling this issue. The plan is that companies will share information and ideas so that eventually Julie’s Bicycle will be “able to produce an annual report for theatre on GHG emissions and progress towards targets based on the data collected by the industry”. Given how secretive theatres can be about their plans and operations, it is good to see that differences are being overlooked in the face of this major challenge.

In fact, as the Stage recently explained, Julie’s Bicycle has already launched one major report about the impact that touring theatre has on the environment. They calculated that in 2009 British touring companies produced approximately 13,400 tonnes of greenhouse gases: equivalent to flying round the world 2,680 times. In one sense this is good news – Alexander points out that this figure is not as high as they had initially feared it might be – but she adds that there are also many areas where things could be improved.

As well as working directly with theatres, the organisation has provided a number of resources on its websites to enable companies to measure their impact themselves. These include a free carbon calculator, which theatres can use to work out what their carbon footprint is, and a range of other advice on how to become more energy-efficient.

Recent years have seen a range of shows – from Filter’s Water to the Bush’s Contingency Plan – that have sought to tackle climate change from an artistic point of view. So it’s good to see theatres attempting to be green not just in word, but in action too.


Go to the Green Theater Initiative

A Greener National Theatre – Behind the Scenes – National Theatre

by Robert Butler

As you walk south over Waterloo Bridge, looking across at the concrete levels of the National Theatre, the scrolling text which advertises the productions also carries the news that the National is working to reduce its energy consumption. This might seem an unlikely boast for a theatre to make. Audiences know that onstage the best theatre always matches energy with economy, but more and more, the precept holds good offstage too.

In this case, the medium is the message: in 2009 the teletext changed from the old Ceefax, which used 1248 lightbulbs – costing £6 each, and all imported from Mexico – to the Philips VidiWall, an 8m x 3m screen using LEDS, or light-emitting diodes. This has produced a 60% energy saving, or 30 tonnes of CO2 per year. At the same time, the external lights on the building, which elegantly alter the National’s facade from night to night and from season to season, have switched from discharge lamps to LEDS, which reduces the energy consumption by 70%.

Some of the new low-carbon measures are eye-catching, others are almost invisible. If you drive to the National, you’re probably unaware that the fans in the car park that extract the carbon monoxide have been switched off. These fans ran all the time the car park was open, which was 20 hours a day. They have now been replaced by 27 carbon monoxide detectors that only activate the fans when necessary. So far, these fans have hardly ever come on. They are needed, occasionally, when three shows end at the same time and there’s a queue to leave, but car exhausts are cleaner today, and the car park is better ventilated. The use of CO detectors has saved the National £30,000 a year.

You may not see the CO detectors either. There’s a trial going on in the National’s car park to reduce the amount of lighting. In a fifth of the car park, the lights only come on when there’s movement, but even when they’re down to 10%, visibility is still reasonable. When this trial is rolled out across the National’s car park, it will knock a further 3.5% from the NT’s electricity bill.

Inside the building, there have been further adjustments. If you head into one of the loos before the show, motion detectors bring the lights on. Sharp-eyed members of the audience may even notice minute particles of sand in the toilet pans. The ground water that surfaces in the basement and carpark has been filtered, treated and pumped through the National’s water system as grey water (not for drinking). There used to be even more of this supply, but Thames Water recently mended the pipes in SE1, which has cut down on this informal subsidy for the arts. As you leave the NT’s loos, you’ll also notice the Dyson airblade hand-dryers, which dry hands in 10 seconds with unheated air. What dries the hands is a sheet of air travelling at 400 miles an hour which uses a quarter of the energy that hot air does.

If you buy a programme on the way into the auditorium, you will see that you are reading this article on paper that is between 75% and 90% recycled. The National requires nearly 60 tonnes of paper a year for its programmes and repertory brochures. That works out at about 750 trees a year. When the National reaches its target of 100% recycled paper (which it hopes to achieve in the next two years) it will be diverting more than 75 tonnes of paper from landfill sites and will have saved nearly 80 tonnes of CO2 a year.

As you take your seat, glance at the lights at the end of the aisles – called “seat-enders” – and you’ll see they are all LEDs. When the show begins, most of the 40 or 50 ‘discharge’ lamps that light the show will have been tested by the crew at 5pm and then turned off. It used to be that once the lamps were tested at 5pm they were left on till the show began two and a half hours later. It’s estimated that if this change in theatre practice was adopted across the West End it would save a megawatt, or a million watts, every night. A megawatt is easy enough to picture: take a single 100-watt bulb and multiply it by ten thousand.

There are also measures that audiences don’t get to see. Within the building there are improved showers for cyclists, a loan scheme for members of staff to buy bicycles, a brightly-coloured row of large bins in the canteen for recycling, and the offer of a discount on your coffee at the canteen if you bring your own cup. For a while, pop-ups used to appear on computer screens when staff logged out saying ‘remember to switch off your computer and printer’. There are still night-time checks around the offices to make sure no lights or machines have been left on. You wouldn’t want to be the person who was told that they had kept the digital photo frame of their loved ones on all night.

What has driven these initiatives? If you like the bigger picture, you could argue that one answer was the Iranian missile tests. When the Islamic Revolutionary Guard announced it had tested nine missiles simultaneously on 9 July 2008, it sent oil prices – which had already quadrupled between 2003 and 2006 – to a record high. It was at exactly that moment that the National Theatre found itself coming out of a three-year contract with an energy supplier that had kept its fuel bills at an increasingly advantageous level. Overnight the building was faced with a very substantial hike in fuel costs. During that three-year contract, the public mood had also shifted: in 2006, Al Gore released his movie An Inconvenient Truth, James Lovelock published The Revenge of Gaia and the Conservatives produced the slogan ‘vote blue, go green’. Theatres were starting to think more carefully about their carbon footprints.

The two imperatives – economic and environmental – came together and the National’s response was to set itself a target. Over three years, it would reduce its consumption of gas and electricity by 20%. At the same time, it would continue to expand its activities. Since 2008 for example, the National has been open on Sundays. It has also substantially increased the amount of work it does in the summer. In 2005, the Watch This Space festival featured 177 shows and gigs over 11 weeks; by 2009, it featured 256 shows and gigs over 13 weeks. The brief, then, has been to increase activity and decrease energy consumption. It has called for some ingenuity. The lighting for the new venue, The Deck, where corporate functions are held, is so efficient that it runs off a single 13 amp socket.

Like other institutions, the National made quick progress with ‘low-hanging fruit’: the deal with Philips, who provided the Vidiwall and the LED lighting, almost single-handedly slashed the electricity consumption. But there’s a moment when the light bulbs have been changed and the staff are recycling when most of the ‘easy wins’ have been made. It’s hard then not to hit some barriers. For instance, the car park provides an important income stream. Also, some people don’t like using late-night public transport and simply wouldn’t buy tickets to the National if they couldn’t park. It’s also perfectly possible for audiences to find all the information about the season online, but the strong support for the mailing list shows many people prefer to receive repertory brochures in the post. The restaurant has had a great response for its seasonal food that is locally sourced. But the sales of bottled water are also important to the restaurant and bars. (So the task, there, is to ensure that all the bottles are fully recyclable. Indeed they are working to ensure that all the food packaging that comes into the building can be recycled.) The final barrier, of course, is that no-one would dare suggest at the moment that the production values themselves should be compromised for the sake of energy savings.

Theatre is an energy-hungry activity and the National employs 850 staff and 150 actors. In terms of its energy use, this five-acre site isn’t one place, it’s a number of places, each with its own micro-climate. During this past winter, when some members of staff who work in the east-facing offices (looking towards St Paul’s) were switching on extra heaters to combat the cold part of the winter, there were others, in the south-facing offices, enjoying the glow, or ‘solar gain’, from the winter sun.

Till now, a limited amount of capital has been sufficient to make the energy reductions. But certain aspects of the building are very energy-inefficient, notably the heat loss through the single-glazed windows, which are all over the building, and where the seals round the windows have deteriorated. This is a building that was conceived in the 1960s when attitudes to energy were very different. The next steps are going to require substantial investment – and a master-plan.

Or rather three master-plans: one for developing the building; one for upgrading the technical requirements of the stage areas; and one for improving the building’s environmental performance. For that last plan, everything has been considered, from introducing CHP, or Combined Heat and Power, to a proposal to insulate parts of the roof with grass and plants. The theatre would, quite literally, be going green.

© Robert Butler, 2010

Robert Butler has written four books in the series ‘The National Theatre at Work’. He also writes the ‘Going Green’ column for the Economist’s Intelligent Life magazine.

The National Theatre’s ‘Sense and Simplicity’ Lighting Partnership with Philips has won the Environment Award in this year’s Hollis Sponsorship Awards

First posted here:
A Greener National Theatre – Behind the Scenes – National Theatre.

darkSky at Art Chicago this weekend at

darkSky 2009 is an interactive installation by Tiffany Holmes which presents a series of salvaged lamps that visitors are encouraged to turn on and off, and the resulting energy consumption is presented in real-time as an animation on a single plasma screen. This exhibit was recently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art MCA, Chicago, from April 4-26, 2009 and will be shown across from the Jean Albano Gallery Booth 549 during the Art Chicago event this weekend at the Merchandise Mart.

via darkSky at Art Chicago this weekend at