On the 12 October, Chiara from Julie’s Bicycle was in Oslo to help run an EE MUSIC Workshop for venues and events organisers in Norway. Our co-organiser and local EE MUSIC Ambassador is Linnéa E. Svensson, director of Greener Events Norway, a foundation specialising in sustainability consultancy for music and sports events. The event took place in the Leiligheten at the Rockefeller Music Hall; one of the leading concert promoters in Oslo containing venues of up to 1,750 capacity and was also supported by Musikkutstyrsorningen, the Norwegian Music Equipment Scheme that funds equipment for venues and studios. Attendees included venues, production professionals, lighting designers, municipality representatives, energy consultants, and representatives from music event associations/networks such as MØST (Music Network Østlandet).

To kickstart the day, Linnéa presented the results of a survey she had undertaken on the status of environmental sustainability in the Norwegian music event industry. She found that just over 60% of respondents had a person responsible for environmental sustainability within their organisation, but only just over 30% had any environmental targets. Only 20% reported that they considered energy consumption when choosing technical equipment, and only 20% had any kind of monitoring of energy consumption in place.

Guest speaker Ida Bryn from Erichsen & Horgen energy consultancy presented the results of energy audits and improvements she had undertaken at Oslo Concert Hall, the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, and Parkteatret. Specific challenges at the Opera included the fact that acoustics has the highest priority, meaning the ventilation system can produce a maximum of 17 dBA of noise. The Opera case study also illustrated the significant spikes in temperature and humidity when the concert hall is fully occupied, which pose a further challenge to the correct setting of HVAC systems. Parkteatret, originally constructed in 1907, showed the chronic underinvestment faced by small venues – including an old leaking electric boiler that urgently needed replacing.

Chiara from EE MUSIC provided an overview of energy management in venues and demonstrated the use of the EE MUSIC IG Tools for reporting and monitoring energy use and carbon emissions. Guest speaker Jarle Hellesen from engineering firm Infratek spoke about his work on energy management for events powered by generators and events powered from the mains grid (both outdoor and in venues – including Øya and Hove Festivals and Oslo Spektrum) and in particular about the challenges involved in correctly predicting and specifying power needs.

Guest speaker Andy Purves, a UK lighting designer and co-founder of the environmental responsibility sub-group of the UK Association of Lighting Designers provided an overview of the environmental impact of lighting equipment – from the mining and deforestation in primary resource acquisition, through to the material processing in manufacture, the transport emissions, packaging, warehousing, the energy consumption both of the lighting itself and related cooling and ventilation, the consumables used in maintenance, and the environmental cost of the disposal and recycling of electronic waste.

 He pointed out that there is still an open question about the environmental value of LED stage lighting, even though it uses significantly less energy during the ‘use’ phase – but the overall lifecycle cost can be higher due to the amount of energy used to manufacture the LED modules and the fixtures’ control electronics. Some older non-LED stage lighting fixtures, on the other hand, have been in use for over 40 years. He suggests, when purchasing LED stage lighting fixtures, to invest in quality (as this can make a significant difference to their actual lifetime) – and to start engaging with manufacturers for more modular design and repairable devices. His top tips are good maintenance and repair, monitoring energy usage from stage lighting, designing with power draw in mind, using fluorescent/LED lights instead of tungsten/discharge sources, using higher efficiency tungsten units (where LEDs are not available/suitable), capping dimmer levels at 90%, turning off discharge lights if they won’t be used for an hour or more, quickly switching back to low energy work/house lights during any breaks in rehearsals, and being smart about purchasing – technology is not necessarily good because it’s new.

The day concluded with a group discussion, addressing specific challenges in Norway’s live music event industry, how everyone present could collaborate to overcome them, and how more engagement was needed with bodies such as ENOVA – a Norwegian government agency promoting sustainable energy use, which could potentially unlock funding for energy upgrades within the music event industry. To build on the day’s momentum, Linnéa also presented some of the EE MUSIC Workshop’s learnings as part of a presentation at the Norwegian Live Music Association’s conference later in the same month, to continue building an energy efficient and environmentally sustainable music culture in Norway. 

Related Articles