REPORT: EE MUSIC Train-the-Expert Day Course, IE and UK

Organised by Julie's Bicycle, the event was held at Tileyard Studios, a media hub in London that is home to 70 recording studios and 100 office spaces predominantly housing businesses active in the music, media, film, and creative tech sectors.

Attendees included energy consultants, building services engineers from large firms as well as from smaller companies, environmental sustainability consultants, biodiesel providers, and at least one representative of a London local authority network helping SMEs to reduce their environmental impacts. 

One of the key themes to emerge from the discussions on the day is that energy management for music and performing arts venues and festivals is not substantially different from other sectors, but that because of the nature of the industry there are significantly greater challenges around engagement, timing, and unlocking investment. It was noted that even where sustainability programmes exist, stakeholders such as local authorities find it difficult to reach out to music venues in their locality and bring them into the resources and training offered.

Guest speaker Chris Eaton focused on examples of energy use breakdown in venues between HVAC, stage technologies, and other lighting and illustrated how, while it can be tempting to immediately focus on stage lighting and audio equipment, there are lower hanging fruit for efficiencies in particular when it comes to HVAC. He also looked at issues frequently faced by venues undergoing capital development where actual building performance does not meet expectations in terms of efficiency. Because of a lack of in-house energy literacy, venues can find it difficult to challenge promises of savings made in tenders and offers for work.

A representative from a company supplying sustainable biofuel also remarked that the festival industry is a very difficult market to access, as existing supplier relationships are so entrenched and production professionals are frequently reluctant to take risks on new suppliers.

Overall, there was enthusiasm among attendees for better engagement with the music and performing arts industries, with many energy consultants present feeling that they were now better equipped to approach the sector as clients. There was concern however that accessing the relevant funding could remain difficult – with government loan schemes such as the Green Deal for Business failing to deliver the promised resources.

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