Skip navigation


This information was adapted from a document produced by Mat Morris for Sound Emissions. 


Avoiding emissions

This usually requires forward planning and a commitment by the venue owner, especially at the design stage. However, once a venue has been built, or if a venue is starting up in an existing building, there are plenty of options to retrofit and improve performance. 

On average, venue emissions are created by cooling (28%), air circulation mechanisms (22%), lighting (21%) and heating (13%) - if you’re creating a new venue, seek the services of architects and/or designers who specialise in green building design. For those of you who operate a music venue in an existing building, the best way to identify energy avoidance opportunities is to undertake an energy audit. 

Here’s a few of our basic energy tips:

  • As a rule of thumb, avoid turning on the venue heating system unless it is forecast to be well below comfortable indoor room temperatures (i.e. below say 19 degrees Celsius)
  • Some of the most wasteful energy consumption comes from heating or cooling spaces when the venue is not open. Investigate purchasing a timing system capable of switching on and off your heating/cooling system to ensure that the building, or parts of it, are not being heated/cooled when unoccupied
  • Switch off lights when they’re not in use! It sounds simple, but in fact most venues have parts or all of their building lit up when the venue is not operating at full capacity - you can change this through schedule lights to turn on or off; switch on lights using sensors;  isolate lighting to only those areas being used; and the really smart systems can brighten or dim rooms depending on how bright it is outside.
  • Make sure your lights are LED - they use astonishingly little energy, around 5% of traditional incandescent lighting


Reducing emissions

  • If you have a venue that has windows (particularly western facing windows) get into a habit of closing blinds or curtains to reduce the sun's ability to heat the interior of the building (this will result in you not having to crank up the air conditioning unit to cool the space to a more comfortable level when in use).
  • Switch off production lighting when not in use (i.e. between sound check and the actual gig)
  • Check and replace degraded seals around fridge doors and cold rooms;
  • Insulate walls and ceilings to reduce heating and cooling costs;
  • Make your venue gap free - plug up all gaps around doors, windows and loading bays (this will help you minimise noise emissions as well);
  • Purchase a percentage of your energy needs in the form of Australian Accredited GreenPower - this step can make a massive difference in reducing your overall carbon footprint;
  • Install energy efficient fans to help circulate air;

Finally, install an energy smart meter so you can see what the actual "real time" cost of your energy draw actual is. Studies have proven that knowing what the real time costs of your energy are tend to lead organisations to make smarter energy management decisions (because they are working with better knowledge, i.e. the actual cost of running the venue at different times and with different configurations).


Offsetting emissions

Carbon offsetting is the process of measuring your greenhouse gas emissions, then compensating for (‘offsetting’) your emissions by investing in projects that reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emitted globally into the atmosphere.

There are lots of carbon offsetting providers out there, but first consider:

  1. Determine your boundaries - For example, are you going to offset just the venue’s direct emissions, or will you include artists, staff and audience travel as well?
  2. Measure emissions - The offset provider will identify the relevant emissions sources and calculate a comprehensive ‘carbon footprint’ using internationally agreed carbon emissions formulas.
  3. Retire your calculated emissions - The offset provider will then invest in renewable energy generation or bio-sequestration by buying recognised carbon credits

Here are a number of tips you should consider before choosing a carbon offset provider:

  • Only buy offsets from offset retailers who provide detailed information about their products and services, and the projects they use to generate offsets. Projects may be in Australia or overseas. Ask for more information if you need it
  • Choose retailers that explain how your carbon footprint is calculated.
  • Choose offsets that are independently accredited by a recognised scheme or standard such as offsets accredited under the international Gold Standard and Clean Development Mechanism. Offsets accredited by VCS, VER+ and Greenhouse Friendly are also of a very high quality.
  • Choose offsets that change or prevent the underlying activities that create emissions. These are best for combating climate change in the long-term. Such projects include those that improve energy efficiency; increase renewable energy; prevent waste going to landfill; protect existing forests
  • Work with ethical, nonprofit ticketing providers like Humanitix if you can, who put their profits towards sustainable projects, such as literacy programs for young girls

Finally, you might also like to consider providing audience members with the option of offsetting their travel emissions or average daily emissions associated with travelling to and from your show.