Sound America

Artistic Licence: Lights Out for Earth Hour

Reprinted from Lighting and Sound America Online, 10 April 2009:

Hailed by the World Wildlife Fund as “the world’s first global election,” Earth Hour took place on the evening of March 28. To show concern for global warming, individuals and major organizations around the world were encouraged to vote “Earth” by switching lights off for one hour, or vote “global warming” by leaving lights on.

The aim is to collect one billion votes for “earth” and present the results of the election to world leaders at the 2009 Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the outcome of which will replace the Kyoto Protocol.

“We have a great concern for the environment at Artistic Licence and wanted to show our support by teaming up with some of our customers who share our concern about the threat global warming is imposing on us,” says Artistic Licence’s managing director, Wayne Howell.

The property management firm, Broadgate Estate Ltd, a founder member of the UK Green Building Council, provided just such an opportunity. Broadgate had organized the “lights-out” for Earth Hour in all of it estates—including the installation of in-ground lighting at Finsbury Square on which the company had worked with Artistic Licence in 2004 and for which it again called on Artistic Licence to help implement the switch-off on March 28.

The Finsbury Square installation consists of a large, in-ground array of color-changing lamps, laid out in a semi-symmetric pattern. The array uses over 650 individually controllable light modules, each providing independent colour mixing creating a dynamic floor of colour with effects ranging from subtle moods of color to dynamic animation.

The concept was designed by Mark Ridler of Maurice Brill Lighting Design, who called in Artistic Licence to develop, manufacture and install the system, thereby creating Colour-Tramp in the process.

Artistic Licence’s Colour-Tramp is a new breed of lighting controller that communicates via the Art-Net Ethernet standard and implements all the functionality of Remote Device Management.

Operating as both a lighting controller and as an installation management system, it was one of Colour-Tramp’s newly implemented features that was used trigger the Earth Hour switch-off on voting day.

Howell was able to program the switch-off to happen automatically at 20:30—and reinstate at 21:30—by simply emailing the controller installed on site. The feature allowing Colour-Tramp to be remotely control by email was only introduced earlier this year.

“That’s how easy it is to maintain control of an installation’s energy consumption,” says Howell. ” We have already instituted power saving measures on the Broadgate Project with the recent introduction of astro-triggering to ensure the display only starts at a time relative to sunset. Now we can send further instructions quickly and easily to fine tune performance and power usage.

“Artistic Licence is dedicated to developing more efficient forms of lighting and control and our product range reflects this.”

“Our current work involves the newly formed Zero Carbon Project which aims to bring together the combined knowledge and technical expertise of our industry to develop sustainable, alternative forms of lighting through micro power generation. In our industry we are in a position to make a real environmental difference.”

Earth Hour started in Sydney in 2007 and by 2008, 50 million people worldwide joined the cause as lights were turned out on landmark buildings such as San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, Sydney Opera House and the Colosseum in Rome.

In 2009, the movement has earned the backing of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Artistic Licence and Broadgate Estates have pledged their support alongside the London Eye, Beijing’s Bird’s Nest, the Pyramids at Giza, the Empire State Building and the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpar.

To join the discussion on Artistic Licence’s Zero Carbon Project please email:


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Rose Brand Gardens and Recycles

Reprinted from:  Lighting and Sound America Online (20 April 2009), (6 April 2009)

Hartz Mountain Industries, owner of the building at 4 Emerson Lane, Secaucus, New Jersey, has given permission to its tenant, Rose Brand, the specialist in theatrical fabrics, fabrications and supplies for the event, entertainment, and display industries, to plant a communal garden in celebration of Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22nd.

The garden will occupy 360 sq. ft. on the west side of the building with planned crops including vegetables, perennial herbs, and some flowers. Rose Brand employee volunteers will care for the garden and ultimately benefit from the food and herbs grown. This year, over one billion people worldwide are anticipated in the 2009 Earth Day celebrations.

Rose Brand’s corporate headquarters and warehouse in Secaucus is considered state-of-the-art in terms of energy conservation, the company reports. With highly efficient lighting systems, occupancy sensors, and careful monitoring Rose Brand is actively reducing its carbon footprint. Hartz Mountain Industries has cited this building as being the paradigm of retrofit energy usage and a star in its portfolio of millions of square feet of commercial space. Rose Brand’s operations manager, Bob Bertrand, stated, “This garden is an important milestone in our continuing education of our employees about environmental issues.”

Earth Day has achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from both secular and religious leaders, rich and poor, urban dwellers and farmers businesses and labor leaders. The first Earth Day in 1970 lead to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the passage of The Clean Air Act, The Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. Earth Day is widely celebrated around the world as a collective expression of public will to create a sustainable society.

In a continuing effort to reuse, reduce, and recycle, Rose Brand will be earning money to be donated to The ESTA Foundation’s Behind the Scenes by collecting empty printer cartridges and used cell phones and recycling them for cash credit at Funding Factory, a company based in Erie, Pennsylvania offering nationwide free recycling. The fundraiser continues Rose Brand’s support of Behind the Scenes and the company’s commitment to the environment.

As Josh Jacobstein, Rose Brand’s sales director, said, “We have a long-term relationship with the entertainment industry and the hard-working people who make it all happen. With our recycling efforts we will create a benefit to Behind the Scenes and that’s a perfect way of continuing our ongoing support of the industry and people we work with.”

Rose Brand’s Deborah Sperry added, “Rose Brand is on a journey to find the types of eco-friendly behaviors and activities that are genuine and sustainable. As the coordinator for Rose Brand’s green journey I am pleased that our recycling of used toner cartridges and cell phones will result in a contribution to Behind the Scenes and our green goals.”

All laser and inkjet cartridges and cell phones collected through this effort are sent to Funding Factory. Items are inspected and the value for each collected item in Rose Brand’s account is then sent to The ESTA Foundation’s Behind the Scenes program.


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White Light Green Guide Published

White Light’s Green Guide promises to be an exceptionally useful guide to theater managers, technicians, and designers looking to reduce their environmental footprint while decreasing energy usage.  Details below.

Reprinted from Lighting & Sound America, April 16, 2009:

The U.K.-based entertainment lighting supplier White Light announces the release of the White Light Green Guide, available now from the company’s website.

Intended as a starter guide for those wanting to make their work in lighting shows have as little impact on the environment as possible, the Green Guide offers suggestions for each phase of the process of show lighting, from initial meetings and planning through rig design, set-up and focus, show running, touring, and final load-out.

“Many of the suggestions in our Green Guide are largely common sense,” comments White Light’s managing director, Bryan Raven, “but it’s often the obvious things that get overlooked when it comes to putting a show together, particularly in the final hectic days of tech when the old mantra of ‘the show must go on’ tends to win out over everything else! We hope that by writing some suggestions down they might be able to be integrated into the planning and production process a little better.”

The White Light Green Guide draws on the experience the company has gained in trying to reduce the environmental impact of its operations and working to introduce newer, more energy-efficient technologies to lighting practitioners. This process has covered everything from installing a waste compactor, moving to filtered tapwater rather than bottled water, investigating hydrogen fuel cells as a power source for outdoor events, and adopting a wide range of LED lighting products — as well as continuing the company’s principal operation of renting lighting, giving equipment as long a working life as possible.

White Light have also been involved with a number of other environmental projects, including working with the Arcola Theatre on their aim to become the world’s first carbon-neutral theatre, and collaborating with the Mayor of London’s Office on its Green Theatre: Taking Action on Climate Change, and with environmental organisation Julie’s Bicycle on its Green Music guide.

The White Light Green Guide compliments these by focusing more specifically on lighting, hints ranging from switching off discharge moving lights when not actually in use, to considering new approaches to attaching cables to lighting bars.

Designed to be easy to read on-screen, the White Light Green Guide is available for download only; it can be found at the link below.

White Light Green Guide


Go to the Green Theater Initiative