Because the vast majority of Australia’s energy comes from highly polluting brown coal, the best steps music venues and festivals can take are shifting to more energy efficient lighting, heating and air-conditioning, and refrigeration, and moving to energy generated by clean, renewable sources like solar and wind.
By far the simplest thing to do is to contact your current electricity retailer and ask to be put onto their Green Power scheme. These schemes ensure that clean, renewable energy is generated to cover all of your electricity usage, replacing coal and helping the clean energy industry grow.
While all Green Power schemes are credible, some are better than others. Green Music Australia and many energy consultants can help find the best possible supplier and negotiate a good deal for high energy users.
For venues, temperature control is usually your biggest creation of emissions. Avoid turning on heating unless it is forecasted to be well below 19 degrees, and invest in a heating/cooling timing system so the system isn't in use when the venue is unoccupied. Switch to LED lighting, with light sensors if possible, and check the insulation around the building and the seals around fridges and cool rooms. Consider investing in an energy smart meter (with real time measurements) so you can accurately personalise your venue's energy reduction strategy.
For festivals, work with production to incorporate energy efficient stage lighting set ups (for example by using ultra energy efficient LED lighting where possible). For sites that are grid connected, arrange to purchase up to 100% Australian accredited GreenPower (sourced from approved wind, solar and hydro energy generators); if your site requires mobile generators, investigate if it can be run on biodiesel. Encourage and actively seek suppliers who can provide services to the festival using renewable energy, and work with all food vendors, markets and caterers to minimise the energy requirements for their services.
MEASURE YOUR IMPACT
Julies Bicycle provides a free set of online carbon calculators – Creative Industry Green (IG) Tools – to help those in the creative industries to easily measure environmental impacts over time (free account creation required).