Around the Art House: Going Green

Happy Earth Week! All around the world art houses are instituting sustainable and eco-conscious policies and programs to make their theaters wonderful places for the audience of today and the audience of tomorrow. Ready to take the next steps towards reducing carbon emissions or plastic use? Prepared to participate in global initiatives to respond to environmental crisis? We all have a role to play in reducing waste and sharing knowledge.

We’ve put together a list of some theaters that are doing amazing work in their communities.

Amherst Cinema, Amherst MA

In order to be more green Amherst Cinema is reducing waste and embracing renewable energy. They have started using compostable cups, straws, and lids, are phasing out landfill packaging, and have successfully cut their landfill trash by approximately 75%. In order to acclimate audiences to the transition they have also produced a PSA that screens before all films and includes trash sorting instructions.

They currently get 100% of their power from renewable sources, 1/3 from their own rooftop solar array, and 2/3 from wind energy, and are replacing fluorescent light bulbs with more energy efficient LED bulbs. They were able to subsidize the installation through fundraising and a local cultural facilities grant.

Ready to start composting? Check out the U.S. Composting Council’s Guide to Workplace Composting.

Belcourt Theatre, Nashville TN

MVIMG_20190422_152840_50Market research estimates that Americans are using over 100 billion straws per year and they are contributing to the eight million tons of plastic that flow to our beaches. Many states, businesses, and organizations including the Belcourt Theatre in Nasvhille, TN are attempting to curb this trend by changing practices so that their straws stop going into landfills and onto beaches. The Belcourt currently has a straw recycling program and has switched to compostable popcorn bags, and by installing new, clearly labeled waste receptacles they are making sure that patrons understand how to help reduce waste and that disposables end up where they belong.

Ready to reduce plastic straw waste? Check out One Last Straw’s list of alternatives.

Echo Park Film Center, Los Angeles CA

cover-epfc_photoAs a micro-cinema and media arts center committed to equal and affordable access to film/video resources, The Echo Park Film Center in Los Angeles has integrated eco-friendly priorities into its infrastructure and its curriculum. The organization hosts offsite film programming throughout the Los Angeles area using an eco-friendly Filmmobile, fueled by a combination of solar power and waste vegetable oil.

The cooperatively managed film center also hosts a robust, environmentally conscious educational program, offering classes including “Eco-Processing for Super 8 Film,” in which students learn to process film with beer, wine, coffee and other non-toxic materials, and “How Does Your Garden Grow?” in which students worked with activists, gardeners, and artists to produce films about urban gardening.

Ready to see some of the amazing eco-friendly artwork students are producing? Check out the EPFC Vimeo channel.

The Loft Cinema, Tucson AZ 

IMG_7306Located in sunny Tucson, AZ The Loft Cinema, has embraced solar energy as a way to reduce their carbon footprint. They use solar energy to power their main building (housing screens 1 and 2), marquee, and all of their outdoor screenings.

Their outdoor screenings are powered by their solar-powered mobile cinema. The Loft Cinema was the first U.S.-based member of the Solar World Cinema movement, a global network of solar powered mobile cinemas with participants based in countries including Brazil, Gambia, and Nepal. The van utilizes a 1.24 kW solar electricity installation, comprised of 4 LG 315 W modules, paired with an off-grid inverter and battery array, installed by Technicians For Sustainability, allowing the van to store energy generated during day-time hours for evening operations, screen inflation, and up to three hours of film and audio projection.

The Loft’s solar-powered mobile cinema travels to neighborhoods throughout the Southwest and beyond, as well as festivals and other outdoor events in Tucson, enabling a simple solution for on-the-fly screenings for large audiences.

Considering going solar? Check out the Technicians For Sustainability Solar Education Portal.

Palm Theatre, San Luis Obispo, CA

DSC0196Located in beautiful San Luis Obispo north of Santa Barbara, CA, The Palm Theatre was the first solar-powered cinema in the United States. In 2004 owner Jim Dee committed to reducing the theater’s carbon footprint and installed 80 solar photovoltaic sun-facing panels, eliminating 22,152 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

Since then, 18 additional panels have been added, each eliminating 25% more pounds of carbon dioxide than the original 80. The transition hasn’t just helped the theater more effectively pursue its mission, its also helped reduce overhead, electricity costs, and dependence on utilities companies. As Dee notes “businesses that plan to operate for more than 10 years should invest in green energy. Movie theaters are perfect for solar power because operation hours usually spike at night, after all of the solar power is collected.”

Does your theater have a green initiative you would like to share? Email us at info@arthouseconvergence.org!