The Sage Gateshead
The Sage Gateshead is an international music venue and music education centre, located on the banks of the River Tyne in NewcastleGateshead. The building is distinguished by the striking architectural design of Foster and Partners, who created an open, inclusive and inspirational venue for promoting musical life. Since opening in 2004 it has played host to all manner of festivals, orchestras, bands and workshops as well hosting numerous conferences and events.
The Sage Gateshead & Gateshead Quays 02 (Image by Alex Telfer)
The Sage Gateshead seeks to match their cultural success with a strong commitment to environmental responsibility. In September 2009 they were among the first to sign up to the 10:10 climate campaign, pledging to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 10% over the following year. Other major supporters of the campaign included the Tate, NHS, Edinburgh University and British Gas.
The challenge was enthusiastically adopted by the Board and the staff of The Sage Gateshead, with their dedicated Green Team working hard to raise environmental awareness and implement a range of carbon-cutting initiatives. The Sage Gateshead recognised that becoming a model of good practice for other venues to follow by reducing their emissions would allow financial savings as well as inspiration to others to consider their environmental impact. By joining the 10:10 campaign and broadcasting their commitment The Sage Gateshead chose to work openly in tackling their emissions.
Since then The Sage Gateshead has made great strides in reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Some of the biggest savings have come from switching lighting to low-energy LED bulbs, installing highly efficient new air-conditioning filters, and decreasing the amount of gas used for heating. They have also switched to a renewable electricity tariff, contributing to a growing market demand for greener energy. The Green Team has engaged with staff across the organisation with initiatives such as a 'Switch It Off' campaign for electrical appliances, and adding new recycling facilities which have also significantly reduced the amount sent to landfill. The Sage Gateshead’s café and restaurant source their food locally and use Fairtrade products where possible, communicating with their customers the work they’re doing.
As a result of their efforts The Sage Gateshead has made consistent reductions in energy consumption, with a drop of 44% in electricity and 28% in gas use per concert between 2007/8 – 2008/9. This trend was continued the following year, which marked another 9% fall in overall energy use per show. The Sage Gateshead has subsequently obtained a Display Energy Certificate which confirms they use approximately 20% less electricity and 3% less gas than other venues of equivalent size. As a result they have been awarded not only Industry Green status, but also the Gold Standard National Clean Air Award.
The Sage Gateshead is working towards attaining BS8901, the British Standard for sustainable events management, and is dedicated to pursuing further green initiatives in the future. Their commitment to 10:10, Industry Green and BS8901 are clear signals of a venue which has embraced the concept of sustainability and integrated environmental responsibility into its strategy for the future. By continuing along this path The Sage Gateshead will provide an inspirational example for a low-carbon creative sector.
Anthony Sargent, General Director at The Sage Gateshead, shares his thoughts on the importance of sustainability:
“There is no more essential task for us all – as citizens and as companies – than to start to live within the sustainable means of our planet. Many of us will be taking active steps in our private lives to contribute to that end, but the contribution made, or not made, by companies will be key to the outcome - recognising there’s often a conflict between companies’ short-term financial drivers and their long term environmental and moral responsibilities to the community of which they are a part.
Julie’s Bicycle has played a really key role in that debate, tirelessly acting not just to remind arts companies of their responsibilities but, critically, also coming up – again and again - with imaginative and enticing ways of encouraging them in that direction. Albeit on a modest scale, Julie’s Bicycle is playing a really key role in an absolutely critical journey for the future of our planet.”
In the lead up to 10:10’s ‘biggest day of positive action on climate change’, 10:10:10 (on the 10th October 2010), The Sage Gateshead supported the day by introducing sustainable carbon-saving initiatives in the ten days leading up to, and on, 10:10:10. These initiatives included:
- Reducing their lighting by a further 10%;
- Switching the source of their drinking water to save on plastic bottles and reduce carbon emissions from the transportation of the water;
- Holding days like ‘Leave the Car at Home’ and a ‘No Lift Day’ to help promote the importance of reducing carbon emissions to their staff and customers;
- Planted their own home grown veg into old, recycled bins which they no longer use since introducing the recycling bins;
- Installed an electric car point charger which will be available for use with the new electric cars which will also be beneficial to the wider community (Image credit: Sally Baitch);
- Brought together supplier organisations they work with to sign up to the commitment of 10:10. Representatives from two of the organisations who signed up 10:10 (Renwick Flooring and Resource UK) did so online using a pedal powered generator to power the laptop they were using (Image credit: North News and Pictures Ltd).