Arcola wins carbon-neutral heating system

Arcola Theatre is to install a full carbon-neutral heating system next month, after a groundswell of public support delivered £12,500 of funding for the project.

1797 people voted online for the Carbon Neutral Arcola proposal, which is expected to reduce the theatre’s carbon emissions by 5 tonnes every year.

As the most-supported project in London by a margin of over 1200 votes, it secured a £12,500 cash injection from the M&S Energy Community Energy Fund.

24 energy-efficient radiators will be installed in the foyer, bar, office and rehearsal studios by the end of 2015. They will be connected to the theatre’s biomass boiler, which generates heat from waste and scrap wood that would otherwise go to landfill.

When installation is complete, the whole building will be serviced by central heating for the first time since Arcola moved to Ashwin Street, Dalston in January 2011.

Since then the theatre has fitted solar panels, DC microgrids and energy monitoring systems to reduce its carbon footprint. It has pioneered sustainability in theatre production, local community engagement and through its sister company, Arcola Energy.

Feimatta Conteh, Sustainability Manager at Arcola Theatre said: “This is a huge step forward on our course to becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral theatre. In just a couple of months, we’ll be welcoming our audiences to a warmer and more sustainable building. I’d like to thank everyone who voted, and all those who support Arcola, without whom this would not have been possible.”

Jonathan Hazeldine, Head of M&S Energy said: “We were absolutely delighted with the number of entries we received for the M&S Energy Community Energy Fund and it was brilliant to see communities coming together in support of renewable energy projects in their area – we received over 51,000 votes in total. We have a very worthy list of 26 winners from a whole range of projects which all exemplify the innovative approach communities across the UK are taking to generating their own energy.”

M&S Energy’s investment comprises 50% of the required funding, with the other half provided by Arcola Theatre’s Supporters.