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Greening Dunamaise

Dunamaise Arts Centre are investing heavily in greening the arts, reducing not only running costs but more importantly our carbon footprint. Since 2009 our Technical Manager, Nick Anton, has been working with Phil Walker of Ecomerit to investigate ways to save energy in the building. This covers every aspect of greening from using recycled paper to managing water use.

Moving towards a greener arts centre

Making a Theatre Green is no easy feat. Since 1882 when stage lighting was first electrified the use of light became a key part of all theatrical productions. Many shows are performed with only lighting setting the scene. With better technology lighting designs have become more complex and use more lights - thus using more energy.

Our latest green initiative is tackling the stage lighting. Making a small dark room into Sherwood Forest, 1920s New York or the undersea world of the Little Mermaid relies heavily on lighting and this uses a lot of electricity. To tackle this we have been working on a phased change over from Tungsten light sources to LED. We have so far completed 3 phases of this switch resulting in a drop in the potential energy use of the lighting rig from 83,100w down to 5,200w. We hope to continue this change over in 2021 and be completely LED by 2024.

With Phil’s expert help we have worked on many projects to reduce our carbon footprint, for example:

  • Changing all the domestic and emergency lighting in the building to LED
  • Fitting sensor lighting in key areas
  • Insulating the ducting on the roof
  • Insulating the elbows, pumps and regulators in the boiler room
  • Reducing water usage in toilets with restrictors and timers
  • Regular leak tests
  • Switching from Oil to Gas heating
  • Separated Domestic water heating from the main system
  • Going to Paperless Ticketing with ticket scanners which will read the ticket from your phone
  • Using crockery instead of paper cups for coffees in the bar
  • Actively encouraging recycling
  • Reducing the use of PVC tape by using cable clips on bars and velcro straps on cables

The net result of these initiatives means that we have:

  • Cut our water use by 75%
  • Reduced our electricity use from 150,000kWh to 90,000kWh per annum
  • Slashed our heating energy use by 30,000kWh per annum
  • Reduced our BER from E2 to B2
  • Reduced our carbon foot print from 146500 kg CO2 to 69500kg CO2 per annum
  • Halved our landfill waste and increased our recycling
  • Reduced our hazardous waste (lightbulbs) by 90%
  • Cut the stage lighting potential from 83kW to 5kW

We also fitted swift boxes and a caller to the side of the building in conjunction with the Heritage Office of Laois Co.Co. and Birdwatch Ireland

All of these projects have been made possible with the assistance of SEAI, Laois County Council and The Arts Council

As a result of all these measures we have taken the BER of Dunamaise Arts Centre up to a B1, which is very high for a building of this type and we hope to improve this further in the near future.

Our greening plans continue and while we are looking at large scale projects like Solar PV panels to generate electricity, the small things are important too. A degree less on your own heating, having a Keep Cup for your coffee, cycling to work and buying locally sourced goods all go towards a brighter future for us all.

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