Trailblazing sustainability projects as part of our core business, Arcola Theatre aims to be the world’s first carbon neutral theatre. Initiated in 2007 as the Arcola Energy Project, Arcola’s vision for a sustainable, equitable and creative future is at the heart of all we do.
In 2010 we set up Arcola Energy Ltd to take forward technology development and commercial elements. Arcola Energy specialised in the integration of hydrogen and fuel cells, with a reputation for capturing end-user needs, strong industry partnerships and low-cost UK manufacturing. Arcola Theatre worked closely with Arcola Energy, particularly on renewable energy projects until it was acquired in 2021.
Since 2012, all organisations that receive regular funding from Arts Council England have to report on their environmental performance. We’ve reduced our carbon footprint by more than 25%.
We’ve installed 24 square meters of solar panels to generate electricity. At their peak these panels produce up to 6 kilowatts of green electricity, most of which is used by the theatre. Any electricity that is not used is fed into the national grid providing additional income through the feed-in-tarrif. Since they were installed in February 2012, our panels have generated over 10,300kWh of electricity, avoiding more than 8 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Many modern appliances run on DC power from batteries. Charging them from AC mains power wastes energy in the conversion. Our DC microgrids are connected (by orange wiring) to our solar PV panels on the roof. They allow for smarter energy management from hybrid sources, powering our LED lights and our laptops from DC-integrated desks.
Our waste wood fired heating system provides carbon-neutral heating. Since it was commissioned in December 2012, it has generated over 67,000kWh of heat, mostly through burning waste and scrap wood. If this heat had been generated through the gas grid, it would be responsible for 67.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Solar thermal panels
We fitted solar thermal panels to heat the water in our taps. The 5 panels can heat water up to 60 degrees on sunny days. Solar Thermal can also be combined with photovoltaics to further increase efficiency. The waste heat from photovoltaics electricity production is used to heat water.
East London brews
90% of the beer sold at Arcola Bar comes from within 4 miles, reducing our carbon footprint from deliveries.
When we renovated the Colourworks building to create Arcola on Ashwin Street we, reused well over 10,000 bricks, saving waste emissions and more than £13,000. We reused the factory’s original timber joints; now they hold up our stairs and frame our doors.
Travel surveys have shown that over 90% of our audience travel is completed by public transport, cycling or walking. A switch to public transport is one of the single most effective things you could do to reduce your carbon footprint.
We use LED lights in our office, foyer, bar and dressing rooms. The 83 lights we’ve installed use a whopping 89% less electricity than conventional fluorescent lighting.