Case Study: Green Buildings and Content at Glasgow Film

26th July 2016

Case Study: Green Buildings and Content at Glasgow Film

Independent cinema organisation Glasgow Film have long been committed to improving their impact on their environment, and they are currently working on affecting multiple different areas of their operations!

A sustainable building

Operating in a building built in 1939 (and B listed) Glasgow Film have been making environmental improvements for some time. A primary capital development project saw the beginning of the roll out of LED lighting (now extended to office spaces too): an investment which leads to significant reduction in carbon-intensive energy consumption (as less energy is lost through the heat expended by a traditional bulb) and cost over time (as LEDs have a longer life span).

With a second phase of refurbishment now underway, and with a focus on accessibility, the cinema has been working hard to green the redevelopment process itself: gifting all reusable furniture within the building to either staff internally or to a local charity in support of Glasgow Homelessness, and ensuring these items were not passed as waste for recycling/landfill.

Focus on waste

Glasgow Film has also had a strong concentration on waste, monitoring waste uplifts by recording each uplift and checking bin levels each day to ensure accuracy in their collection needs. They chose their contractor (William Tracey) for their ability to provide accurate measurements and reporting, and for their effective waste segregation and processing (almost all general waste is used for Refuse Derived Fuel, and thus less than 3% of the cinema’s waste is actually sent to landfill).

Caroline, Glasgow Film’s Green Champion, told us:

“We reached an on-site recycling rate of 71% in September 2015 but our annual average on-site recycling rate for 15/16 was 64%”  (by comparison, the Scottish Government building is achieving a 60% recycling rate)

But they’ve also found that engaging staff members more fully in the waste process has improved how they operate:

“Our lovely ushers are volunteers, and they receive a very thorough induction course which also covers waste and energy.  Our ushers collect the waste from customers as they leave the cinema which allows for verbal confirmation of what can/can’t be recycled.”

Sustainable catering equipment is also a high priority, with all takeaway cups, lids and unbleached napkins supplied by low-carbon Edinburgh-based compostables company Vegware. The cups for cold beverages are made of plant-based PLA (81% less embodied carbon than plastic), and takeaway coffee cups made from high heat plant-based PLA  (67% less embodied carbon than plastic).

Using technology for better recording and reduction

Their second redevelopment phase also has a technology component:

  • New energy monitors will be added each of the new and existing electrical distribution boards during 2016/17 to allow accurate data gathering on where electricity is being used, and reduction strategies accordingly.
  • Temperature and CO2 monitors will be added in various locations to allow the organisation to track heating gains, which should help to inform future decisions about heating/chilling upgrades.
  • New taps and flushes will replace percussion taps and single flush toilets to save water, and new cleaning products are being investigated to try and further reduce waster use.

Glasgow Film have also been trialing Creative Carbon Scotland’s online tool, rolling it out to staff in 2016 to help form, report and minimise a footprint of all travel-related emissions. They now promote this travel policy:

  • When travelling on office business, method of travel is chosen on the basis of cost effectiveness and environmental impact.
  • For journeys within Glasgow we encourage all staff to use a bicycle, walk or take public transport whenever time allows rather than taxis. Some preplanning should help keep use of taxis to a minimum.
  • For journeys within the UK, train should always be chosen over air travel.
  • For international flights, non-stop flights are preferred to multiple short-haul stops.
  • Only if it is the most sustainable option should a car be used on Glasgow Film business.
  • We will work towards increased use of video-conferencing where appropriate, and towards setting firmer limits of when travel is required, over the next few years.

The Green Film Festival

Another way that GFT have been exploring the role the arts can take in environmental sustainability has been through their programming content. Over May 2016, they took part in the Green Film Festival, showcasing a range of films including Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, The Messenger, and Just Eat It, a documentary focused on food waste:

Just Eat It – A food waste story (Official Trailer) from Grant Baldwin on Vimeo.

In a great example of arts and sustainability collaboration, Mark Wells, Head of Strategic Comms at SEPA was guest speaker for the Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story.  He introduced the film and thereafter hosted a Skype Q&A with cast member Jenny Rustemeyer as the Festival’s closing screening.

A work-in-progress

But the good work doesn’t stop there! Glasgow Film is keen to highlight that there’s still more to develop, and to improve:

“Our aim is to grow this festival each year and hopefully partner other local businesses who share our sustainable beliefs…we are not at final stages yet –as you can see we still have a lot to do!”

Glasgow Film is part of our Green Arts Initiative: an interactive community of Scottish arts organisations working to reduce their environmental impact. Images from GFT.

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