New e-van accelerates music venue’s ambition to be a beacon of sustainability for the arts sector

November 22, 2022

Iconic live entertainment venue Bristol Beacon’s drive to become the UK’s first net zero concert hall by 2030 is to be promoted on the city’s streets, with a bright green electric music machine amplifying the message.

While the e-van, boasting Bristol Beacon’s new branding, is set to become a familiar sight around the city, behind the scenes the venue is working hard to put sustainability centre stage. 

The Beacon team have been working closely with Sydney Opera House, which became the first arts venue in the world to achieve carbon neutral status in 2018, as well as building contractors Willmott Dixon, which is working on its transformation and was the first in the construction industry to achieve carbon neutrality in 2012.

The music charity’s ambitious sustainability plans encompass much more than measures being introduced as part of its on-going transformation – crucial as they are.

As well as the e-van, Bristol Beacon has appointed 10 green champions from across the organisation to look at every aspect of what the charity does.

The champions will help develop a range of activities to support delivery of the Beacon’s roadmap to net zero, which has been developed in partnership with Bristol-based sustainability experts Hope Solutions.

The champions’ first task is to look at visitor and artist travel and behaviour. They will host a series of workshops in the coming weeks to help create a sustainability travel plan for visitors, with incentives for green travel, along with guidelines for artists to encourage them to reduce their footprint as much as possible. 

The charity is already making good progress in its aim to be the first net zero concert hall in the UK within eight years.

It has already reached net zero for its direct emissions – such as running its boilers – and indirect emissions, such as the electricity it buys for heating or cooling the building.

Bristol Beacon chief executive Louise Mitchell, pictured, said: “Changing our diesel van to one that runs on electricity is one of the important steps we’re taking as an organisation to make our work more sustainable.

“Bristol Beacon is a symbol of hope and community in Bristol and we believe passionately that we have a responsibility to deliver our programme of music and the arts in a way that gives thought to the environment.

“We want to be an environmentally inspiring venue for decades to come.”

Bristol Beacon’s foyer, which opened in 2009, was built with sustainability in mind and the once-in-a-generation transformation of its performance spaces and cellars now underway has also been designed to be as sustainable as possible.

The transformed venue will include:

  • BREAM ‘very good’ status
  • The use of LED lighting throughout, which will save an estimated 114,240 kW of energy, amounting to 51 tonnes of CO2 a year
  • New photovoltaic panels that will generate 26,000 kWs of energy, saving 11 tonnes of CO2
  • None of the deconstruction material removed as part of the transformation has gone to landfill and many elements of it recycled within the building, such as the reuse of timber floors and panels.

Hope Solutions has more than 30 years’ specialist experience working with arts, events, sports and corporate clients to improve sustainability and reduce their environmental impacts, including Glastonbury Festival, Taste of London, Frieze Art Fair, Live Nation, Kew Gardens and the R&A.

Pictured, top: Bristol Beacon’s new green champions with the charity’s new electric van outside the venue. From left: Duncan Smith, Rosa Corbishley, Anne Mager, Ciaran Austin, Sarah Robertson and Ebony Love









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