Case Study: Green Initiatives – Out of the Blue

4th August 2014

Ron Oliveira, Buildings Manager at Out of the Blue arts and education trust in Edinburgh, recently told us about the centre's long standing interest and engagement with sustainability. Here's what he said!

“Out of the Blue have always had a strong environmental policy in their 20 year history. When the arts charity moved into their new venue at the Drill Hall 10 years ago some major construction works had to be done to transform the listed building.  When planning the development a strong consideration was given to energy efficiency and sustainability.

Measures included solar water heating, smart boiler system, energy efficient lighting, digital timer switches, automated cooling systems, heat transferral air conditioning units and underfloor heating.  These measures have amounted to huge savings in energy costs over time and been a great boost for environmental awareness.

Since taking on the Building manager role I have kept these systems in check with various enhancements and additional environmental projects.

I have recently overhauled our recycling and waste management system with great results.  We now offer a full range of recycling for our building users which has effectively reduced our waste to an average of 40% meaning we recycle more than we dump. This figure continues to improve.

Other improvements we’ve made over the years include:

  • We’ve made inroads to becoming paper free, while this will never be 100% possible we have made a huge reduction.
  • Our cafe uses locally sourced ingredients to save on food travel miles.
  • We encourage our tenants and building visitors to travel by bike and bus to the Drill Hall with ample cycle racks both on street and secure parking inside.
  • We constantly aim to raise awareness within our large community to be more energy efficient and less wasteful, this is done through signage and mailouts to great effect.
  • Our outlook is to always seek out the most environmentally friendly way of doing things. This may not always be the cheapest but has other gains and usually brings a long term return.

Working with Creative Carbon Scotland

Joining the Green Arts initiative has helped us focus on strategies to streamline efficiency and discuss ideas with other like minded organisations looking to lower their carbon footprint.

Tools like sMeasure, available through the Green Arts Portal, help me to monitor and manage our energy systems providing the data required to tweak water, gas and electricity usage, saving money and cutting waste.

Future plans for the Drill Hall include further solar gathering, harnessing wind power and rain water harvesting with a vision of a fully sustainable building.

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We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.


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Supported by

Edinburgh Festival City Edinburgh Festival City

A project initiated by Edinburgh’s Festivals with key partners the Federation of Scottish Theatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network

Edinburgh Festival City Federation of Scottish Theatre Scottish Contemporary Art Network