The content of the EE MUSIC training materials, workshops, and guides is based not only on the experience of pioneering events and venues, but also on evidence and data gathered through monitoring festival sites and in venues.

Much of this research has been undertaken in partnership with universities, and some of it has been peer-reviewed and published in scientific journals: we want to make sure our advice is based on objective evidence as far as possible.


EE MUSIC Research

Energy Efficient Music Culture in Europe: an EE MUSIC study

Pulling together everything we know about energy efficient music production in Europe that has gone before (key actors, research, data, studies, events and suppliers); this study forms the foundation of this project – and the backbone of much of the EE MUSIC website content.

Download (English only) [PDF] 

Coming soon: EE MUSIC benchmarks on energy use in venues/clubs and at festivals across Europe


Few studies of the carbon footprint of the music industry exist – and none of them provide a comprehensive overview of the music event sector, or the music industry across Europe. In part this is due to the fragmented nature of music event production (obtaining the necessary data from all the different actors involved can be very difficult) as well as a simple lack of awareness and available systems. EE MUSIC is seeking to address this and tap into the energy saving potential of the sector.

Perhaps the most wide-ranging study of the carbon impact of the music industry (and in fact the first study of its kind) was published by Julie’s Bicycle in 2008. The combined UK music market across recorded and live music in 2007 was estimated to be responsible for emissions of approximately 540,000 t CO2e a year. To put this in perspective, annual emissions at this level are roughly equal to the average annual emissions of a town of 54,000 inhabitants, or the annual emissions from 180,000 cars. This is a conservative estimate, taking into account only data sources considered robust enough and therefore with limited scope (for full details on the scope of what was included, please see the original study). 74%, or 400,000 t CO2e, of these emissions are attributable to the live music sector, covering the greenhouse gas emissions from venue energy use, festival generator use, equipment trucking, tour buses and audience travel. About a third (32%) of live performance GHG emissions were associated with venue energy use (125,000 t CO2e per annum). UK festivals were estimated to be accountable for emissions of 84,000 t CO2e per annum, of which 20,000 t CO2e are attributed to generators.

A 2011 analysis of festival energy use undertaken at Sussex University estimated that UK festivals use 12,181,501 litres of diesel annually, for an equivalent output of 48,360 MWh – generating approximately 31,573t CO2e in 2010 (note that this is a higher estimate than the 20,000 t CO2e for generator use at festivals in 2007 estimated in Julie’s Bicycle First Step). The study also estimated that only 0.026% of
festival energy demand in the UK was being met by temporary renewable energy technologies
(TRETs) such as solar, and only between 3-6% of energy demand was being met through biofuel. Scaling up the estimated fuel use of the UK festival sector to all European festivals yields an estimated annual demand of 100 million litres, producing 263,000 tCO2e annually (at 2.63 kg CO2 per litre).

For another study, DeMontfort University has been analysing energy use at festivals in the UK since 2009 and has collected over 200 minute-by-minute energy use profiles from areas including stages, traders, and site infrastructure. Most recently, the researchers have collaborated with biodiesel generator supplier Midas UK to improve collaboration between academics, festivals, and suppliers and further increase knowledge on outdoor event energy consumption. The analysis of their data suggests that there is scope for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from events by up to 50% through measures including specifying more energy efficient equipment, switching off equipment when it is not in use, switching to more sustainable energy sources, and improving energy management on site by better analysis of needs and more accurate planning. They are currently pushing for the development and wider adoption of smart grids and real-time monitoring of energy need and use on site.



Julie’s Bicycle Research

Since 2007, Julie’s Bicycle has been building up a dataset to further inform the understanding of energy use and carbon impacts for arts and cultural organisations. This dataset is based mainly on data from Industry Green certified organisations and users of the Julie’s Bicycle IG Tools, carbon calculators developed specifically for theatre, music and the creative industries and for use by venues, festivals, offices, tours and productions. Currently, the IG Tools are mainly used by UK organisations, but the number of European and international users is increasing.

Based on the data collected, Julie's Bicycle has developed a set of benchmarks to help organisations compare their environmental performance against the industry average for venues/cultural buildings and outdoor events. The benchmarks have been created using appropriate ‘relative’ metrics to make them more easily comparable to your organisation whatever its size or scale. The metric is per m2 per year for buildings, and per audience day for festivals. Comparing your environmental performance to these benchmarks using the metrics will give you an understanding of your indicative energy and resource efficiency as compared to the industry average for your sector. The EE MUSIC IG Tools will help you compare your impacts to the Julie's Bicycle benchmarks automatically. As the EE MUSIC project progresses, we will develop European benchmarks for comparison.  


Venue Benchmark:

Building benchmark based on a per m2, per year basis. For meaningful comparison you should divide 12 months of data across a full year for electricity and gas. Floor area is defined as gross internal floor area i.e. all spaces and floors within your building. Only balconies are excluded.


Sample Size:

  • Electricity = 340 venues
  • Gas = 292 venues
  • Water = 270 venues

 This data was derived from the Arts Council initiative in year 1 (2012/13), ATG Theatres and sMeasure users. Gas has been weather normalised so that it can be compared across different time periods. In order to compare your 12 months of data you must weather normalise your gas consumption for that time period. The EE MUSIC IG Tools automatically weather normalise gas consumption.


Festival Benchmark:

All festival benchmarks are based on a per audience day metric. 1 audience day is equal to 1 person visiting the festival for 1 day. E.g. 1 person attending a festival for Friday, Saturday and Sunday = 3 audience days.

Sample Size:

  • 13 UK festivals spanning 2011, 2012 and 2013. 
  • In each case the most recent available year of verified data was selected.
  • Derived from UK greenfield music events with >20,000 attendance and camping facilities. One festival was included with <20,000 attendees as data aligned well with benchmark median.

This is the first time we’ve had sufficient data on recycling and biodiesel consumption which is a testament to the sectors commitment to reducing its impact.

Diesel consumption includes both red diesel and biodiesel. It includes concession use. Biodiesel is zero-rated for carbon emissions under the assumption that waste-vegetable oil is used.

Waste is total waste – it includes both waste to landfill and recycled waste. Recycled waste is zero-rated for carbon emissions.

Water is water consumed only and not waste water. 

First Step: UK Music Industry Greenhouse Gas Emissions for 2007 
(Julie’s Bicycle, 2008)

In August 2007 Julie’s Bicycle commissioned the Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University, to estimate annual greenhouse gas emissions of the UK music industry, identify the key constraints and opportunities for reducing emissions
and make initial recommendations for specific actions and priorities for the medium term. The indicative total shows that the UK music market is responsible for approximately 540,000 tonnes CO2e per annum. While this is not as intensive as many industries, it is a significant challenge to reduce CO2e emissions by 80% by 2050. 
Download First Step (2008)

Sustaining Great Art: Arts Council England Year 1 Report 
(Julie’s Bicycle, 2013)

In 2012, the Arts Council England introduced environmental reporting on energy and water use as a requirement for 704 major revenue funded organisations. They also established a three-year partnership with Julie’s Bicycle to support organisations through the process. This report presents the findings of the first year, including an estimated £810,000 energy bill reduction from actions undertaken in 62 cultural buildings. 
Download Sustaining Great Art (2013)

Moving Arts: Managing the Carbon Impacts of our Touring, 
Volume 1: Bands (Julie’s Bicycle, 2010)

This study was undertaken to begin quantifying the environmental impacts of music touring activity at different scales and identify mechanisms for reducing them. In terms of energy use, the findings show that generators used to supplement on-site electricity supply can make up a significant portion of the greenhouse gas emissions for stadium-level tours. (Transport and freight are responsible for the majority of emissions at all other touring levels).
Download Moving Arts: Bands (2010)



Green Music Initiative Research

Initiated by the Green Music Initiative and the EnergyAgency.NRW in Germany, the Green Club Index was the first German national pilot project analysing and comparing energy consumption in music clubs. They helped 14 clubs throughout Germany to set up energy management schemes for their venues by providing tailor-made energy audits to each club. On the basis of this work, they estimate that an average sized club uses approximately 120,000 kWh of electricity per year, generating 67 tCO2e. An index number for each club is calculated based on annual consumption and annual visitor numbers, allowing club operators to compare their performance to other clubs. The project also provides a hub for sharing best practice in improving energy efficiency and awards the Green Club Label (a low threshold certification scheme for small and medium sized venues). 

The following facts and figures were calculated by the Green Club Index based on the experiences of the 14 clubs in the Green Club Index:

  • 40% of a club’s energy consumption is from refrigeration. This deviates from Julie’s Bicycle data, where around 35% of energy use is from HVAC systems and refrigeration is a comparatively smaller impact – however, this is likely largely due to the fact that the JB dataset is based on larger venues, many of which have HVAC systems, whereas most of the clubs in the Green Club Index do not.
  • Switching to LED lighting can save up to 90% of lighting energy use
  • Clubs were able to produce reductions in energy consumption of ~22%, mostly realised from simple projects/adaptions. This is generally in line with Julie’s Bicycle experience, showing 5-20% reductions in energy use from no- and low-cost interventions.
  • In Germany, a switch to a green tariff power supply agreement can save costs.


Green Club Index: electricity consumption and savings 


Green Club Index: gas consumption and savings


Green Club Index: total savings



Other Research

What are the barriers to operationalising and expanding temporary renewable energy capacity at UK music festivals?
(Joel Baker, MSc MSc Climate Change and Policy, Sussex University, 2011)
Download from Powerful Thinking website [PDF]

Powerful Thinking: Energy monitoring at UK festivals 2012
Download from Powerful Thinking website [PDF]

Reducing Electricity Related Greenhouse Gas Emissions at Music Festivals
(Ben Marchini, Paul Fleming and Christopher Maughan, DeMontfort University, Leicester, 2012)
Download from Powerful Thinking website [PDF]

Electricity related greenhouse gas emissions at outdoor events
(Paul Fleming, Ben Marchini, Christopher Maughan, DeMontfort University, 2014) in Carbon Management, Feb 2014 Volume 5