Artichoke’s Lumiere, the UK’s largest light festival, returned to the medieval city of Durham in December 2011. Around 80 local and international artists, lighting designers and community groups worked together to produce a series of 35 installations and projections that illuminated Durham's buildings, streets and bridges.
Six months before the festival Artichoke partnered with Julie’s Bicycle for advice on how to measure and reduce the environmental impacts of the event. All the installations were designed by that stage, though many of the designers had independently used energy efficient bulbs and LEDs. Focusing on energy use and audience behaviour, Artichoke used mains power where feasible, rationalised its network of diesel generators on site to ensure it was as efficient as possible, encouraged the public to car share and use public transport, Park & Ride facilities were increased, and audiences were asked to turn off lights and appliances when they left home. Artists were also encouraged to travel by train thanks to a partnership with East Coast trains. One example of them communicating their sustainability journey can be seen on their website which outlines their green initiatives including, reducing light pollution, energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions and how the audience can help.
Artichoke’s technical team estimated the energy demand of all the installations and counted how many streetlights and floodlights were turned off. Julie’s Bicycle was able to estimate that approximately 3 tonnes of CO2e were emitted by the installations, which is equivalent to a car being run for a year, or a home being heated and lit for a year. Turning off streetlights and floodlights for the duration of the festival saved about a third of a tonne of CO2e. Julie’s Bicycle conservatively estimated that attendees would save about 40 tonnes of CO2e as long as they remembered to turn off lights and TVs on their way to the festival.gh
In January 2012 Artichoke is submitting final actual data to Julie’s Bicycle about energy used and audience travel. This will provide a baseline for future events and together Artichoke and Julie’s Bicycle will agree actions to reduce emissions for future festivals.
Nicky Webb, Director of Artichoke said, “Artichoke’s events are always big in scale and ambition. We are mindful that events of this scale, like LUMIERE, have an environmental impact and are delighted to be working with Julie’s Bicycle to look at creative ways of reducing our carbon footprint as far as possible without compromising the quality of the events."
Images © Matthew Andrews 2011