Powering Culture into a Sustainable Future

The first strategic guide for arts leaders on reimagining the energy demand and supply of cultural buildings.

This month saw the launch of ‘Energising Culture,’ a guide to engage the UK’s cultural leadership with the importance of planning a cleaner, more sustainable energy future for cultural buildings.

The guide is authored by Julie’s Bicycle, in partnership with the national advisory body for theatres, The Theatres Trust, and was launched at The Trust’s Conference 12 ‘Delivering Sustainable Theatres’ at Stratford Circus. It aims to equip leaders of arts organisations with an understanding of the strategic issues around energy demand, supply and implications for business models; and to make informed decisions about long-term energy strategies for cultural buildings.

Energy is essential to running performances, creating and displaying art, and ensuring a comfortable environment for audiences. It is also the highest contributor to a building’s running costs and carbon emissions. Taking control of energy need is crucial to organisations meeting the UK’s legally binding target of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. ‘Energising Culture’ sets out that regardless of the size, function or ownership model of cultural buildings, rethinking the way they use energy now will save both money and carbon, especially as fossil fuel prices continue to rise and the impacts of climate change present an uncertain landscape. Taking account of strategic issues around renewables and future energy needs is a business-critical exercise, which the ‘Energising Culture’ guide is designed to stimulate and support.

The guide also covers the current range of financial incentives, sources of funding and investment models available to support organisations in achieving this, without comprising the ability to deliver quality service and meet the needs and expectations of artists and audiences. It also provides examples of innovative and bold responses to the energy challenge showing the potential of the cultural sector to galvanise its inherent creativity and resourcefulness to lead the way in both artistic and public communities.

‘Energising Culture’ is now available as a free download from the Julie’s Bicycle and The Theatres Trust.

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