Greening Shakespeare

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The Very Merry Wives of Windsor, Iowa. Jun 6 – October 13 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Kellie Gutman writes:

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival was founded in 1935 and is one of the oldest and largest non-profit theatres in the United States.  They operate over an eight-and-a-half-month schedule, with eleven plays, three theaters and 780 performances.  Approximately 400,000 persons are in attendance at their facility in Ashland, Oregon.  The OSF has an operating budget of $26 million.

Katie Gomez, Physical Plant Assistant, is the Green Task Force Coordinator. When asked how the OSF promotes ‘greening’ their operations, she writes:

OSF has a long list of things we do to be more sustainably aware and green.  Besides recycling paper, one of the easiest things to do here, we are now recycling batteries, some plastics, and a multitude of items used in building sets.  Many costumes are reworked from many made before, from our vast warehouse of costumes.  We do not sell plastic bottles of water anymore – a container given or purchased is filled from fountains.  The Scene Shop uses denim insulation.  We use CFL whenever possible.  As soon as LED’s are more affordable, we will switch to those.  In some instances we do use them now.  This is just the tip of what we do here.  We are constantly trying to do more.

Katie added that although they have not done a production that is specifically “green”, the Green Task Force is working on promoting this idea to the Artistic Staff.

“ashdenizen blog and twitter are consistently among the best sources for information and reflection on developments in the field of arts and climate change in the UK” (2020 Network)

ashdenizen is edited by Robert Butler, and is the blog associated with the Ashden Directory, a website focusing on environment and performance.
The Ashden Directory is edited by Robert Butler and Wallace Heim, with associate editor Kellie Gutman. The Directory includes features, interviews, news, a timeline and a database of ecologically – themed productions since 1893 in the United Kingdom. Our own projects include ‘New Metaphors for Sustainability’, ‘Flowers Onstage’ and ‘Six ways to look at climate change and theatre’.

The Directory has been live since 2000.

Go to The Ashden Directory

The Green Deal: a new revolution in energy efficiency

The Green Deal: a new revolution in energy efficiency

As part of its sustainability, Arcola Theatre continuously strives to improve its energy efficiency. In this post, we take a closer look at the Green Deal initiative being set up by the government to increase energy efficient efforts in the UK.

What is it?

The Green Deal is a new government initiative, which is intended to revolutionise the energy efficiency of British properties. It is anticipated the Green Deal will be launched in autumn 2012.

Through the Green Deal, many households and businesses can improve their energy efficiency and reduce their fuel bills through better insulation and installing energy efficient boilers. The Deal is hailed as an innovative financing mechanism which allows consumers to pay back through their energy bills. Thus, the crucial aspect is that there are no upfront costs whatsoever. Therefore, consumers can see the Green Deal charge alongside the reductions in energy use which generate savings on their bill. It also means that if they move out and cease to be the bill-payer at that property, the financial obligation doesnt move with them but moves to the next bill payer: the charge is only paid whilst the benefits are enjoyed.

Why is it needed?

At a local level, the Green Deal will enable many households and businesses to improve the energy efficiency of their properties and thus generate economic gains. At a national level, the UK needs to become more energy efficient to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change.

Break down of the consumer journey

1. Advice
All businesses and households will be permitted to an energy efficiency assessment, undertaken by an accredited assessor.

2. Finance
A new finance mechanism is introduced, whereby the cost of energy efficient installations is paid back through the energy bill.

3. Installations
Accredited installer will install the measures, subject to the highest standard and to ensure that genuine energy bill and carbon savings are met.

4. Repayments and follow up
After the energy efficiency measures have been installed, a charge will be added to the energy meter at the property and will enable repayments through their energy bills for any Green Deal charges taken out. Repayment obligations belong to the occupier of the property.

Go to Arcola Energy

Insulation and Chassis: Conversations With Timeless Travel and Aerogel


1946 Spartan, Timeless Travel

What kind of  insulation to use?  How to balance all the variables – sustainable, healthy materials that are also efficient.  No sense using green materials that aren’t going to be good insulators in a trailer warm or cool, as needed.

I talked with Brett Hall from Timeless Travel who has restored a number of vintage Spartan’s and many Airstreams:

Brett Hall:

Spartans are the best trailers. The body, which is made from airplane material, contributes about 70% of the trailer’s strength; the rest of the strength is in the chassis.  An Airstream is about 50-50%.  For other trailers, it’s all in the chassis [i.e. the body is basically useless.]

Timeless Travel uses PIC insulation

We use PIC insulation which is fiberglass without formaldehyde.  It has an R5 value, which is best you can do with a Spartan, which has an average depth of 2” on the wall.  Insects don’t like it and [I think he said it is fire resistant.]  Once installed, it has an R10-R13 value.  We use foil tape. The PIC has a lot higher R value than other stuff; we install it in panels.  PIC insulation is fairly green, doesn’t outgas.  When installed, it creates a vapor barrier.

There is a lot of exhaust inside the trailer, from cooking, heating, showers, even humans [people give off 2 liters of water/day.] That goes to the outside of the skin.  The air gap helps air from getting in and also air going out.

Steven Harasim, chemical engineer with Aerogel

Q:  We have a limited budget, but we are interested in following up with your idea of using strips of Aerogel (Thermogel) over the ribs along with some other form of insulation.  What is the R-value of Aerogel?

Our product has an R4 value for each layer (the idea is to layer it). Harasim’s idea was to use some other kind of insulation in the gaps and then use strips of aerogel over the metal ribs before putting the paneling on (see the above photo where exposed metal ribs aren’t covered by insulation.)

Harasim says this method would get rid of the thermal bridge where the steel is in direct connection with the paneling which is very inefficient, thermally.

He said steel has a conductivity far greater than wood. When the metal is  exposed and it touches the walls it acts as a much larger sink in terms of conductivity  than even the gap in between where the insulation would normally go.  So the idea is to isolate that contact by putting a strip of Aerogel on the metal beams.

Santa Clara University’s submission for the 2009 Solar Decathlon

Harasim mentioned the Solar Decathlon (, a competition sponsored by the Department of Energy  where college students design homes that are almost entirely net zero homes.  According to Harasim, Areogel was used in 4 out of 10 of the winning designs, including the Refract House (photo above) a collaborative effort between the University of Santa Clara and California College of the Arts (click to download PDF of project manual,  lower right column)

Coincidentally, Harasim actually used to work for the PIC insulation company that makes the stuff that Timeless Travels uses.  He says it is an “adequate solution”.  From looking at the  pictures I showed him he said, he says “It is well insulated.  The only downside is that the still the steel studs are still exposed.”

He continued:  “What is difficult about the Spartan is the varying cavity size.  But I don’t see anything wrong with this solution. The PIC foam would be a mid point solution.  The aluminum foil is 100 percent recyclable.  The foam is not but it has a higher R-value than other foams per mass basis.  It is more efficient than other insulation.

Question:  Is the PIC insulation “green”?

Harasim:  It’s hard to describe insulation as being “un-green” since its primary objective is to save energy [I suppose some people could argue with that statement]

Q:  Does you think it would be more green to use something like a newspaper product?

The newspaper, being 100 percent recycled would be an advantage, but overall probably not because of the insulation value and the difficulty of installing it in a trailer.

Q:  Do you think Areogel might be willing to donate some materials or otherwise help with the cost?

We aren’t against it but they are stretched pretty thin right now. We are a new company and have already been donating (I bet to the Dethlon).  But he would help with advise on the installation.  And the strips actually come from a different company, Thermal Block, and they may be able to work with you as well.  He’ll give me all the info.

Note: Timeless Travel uses a different kind of insulation in the floor. (I don’t remember why).  He may have said the stuff is styrene or else fiberglass??


New chaissis, Timeless Travel

Timeless Travel’s Brett Hall said Spartan trailer chassis often have structural problems, especially from the wheels back.  “We start looking right away for problems.”  About 40% of the Spartans have serious problems, about 10% need work.  (It should be noted, however, that Timeless Travel tends to add 2,000 – 3,000 additional pounds on average to their renovated (high end) restorations.

Note:  Hall said the original Spartan chasis were built by a third party.


Hall added that it’s very important to pay attention to wiring.  The trailer must conform to the National fire Protection Association’s Standards for Recreational Vehicles (NFPA 1192)






click here for PDF:

Hall rattled off all kinds of things that I couldn’t catch (I was taking notes from the floor of the grocery store).

The gas pipe has to be grounded to the chasis, for instance.

The main thing is that you have to be very careful.  He said electricians think they know what to do and they don’t read the code.  He said READ THE CODE!!


He started to tell me about the belly pan but I have to call him back…

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Insulation part 4

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from as part of our CSPA Supports Program.