Colston Hall: carbon neutral by 2030

BPL435 10 October 2019

LED lighting, waste-prevention schemes and solar roof panels will save 11 tonnes of CO2 a year

Bristol Music Trust, the charity managing Colston Hall’s operations, last week announced its ambition for the new hall to be carbon neutral by 2030.

The venue has been closed since June 2018 for its £50m redevelopment and is due to reopen in 2021 with new education suites, an upgraded main hall and the extensive cellars in working order for the first time in 150 years.

Louise Mitchell, chief executive, Bristol Music Trust, said: “At this stage in our transformation we are in a prime position to put environmental and sustainability targets centre stage. Our target is ambitious but absolutely realistic based on how we, as an organisation and our key partners, are embracing sustainability.

“We have been at the heart of Bristol’s arts and culture scene for over 150 years and we take our commitment to the Bristol community and our role in the city very seriously. This extends beyond the delivery of our performance and education programmes with our responsibility to make a difference and lead the way in how our sector can reduce our environmental impact.”

The charity is collaborating with building contractors Willmott Dixon who have been carbon neutral since 2012, as well as the Sydney Opera House which achieved carbon neutral status in 2018, to reach this goal.

The carbon neutral plan uses some of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals as a blueprint and is due to include a carbon-offsetting programme.

The hall will conserve energy with solar panels and LED lighting, and aims to eliminate all single-use plastic from the venue.

Bristol Music Trust has appointed Tim Westwell, co-founder of Bristol-based Pukka Herbs, as a
new Trustee.

Solar panels, augmented by gas boilers, already heat the majority of the Hall’s water, and additional panels will be installed on the roof, generating approximately 26,000kWs of energy per year – making a saving of 11 tonnes of carbon dioxide against current energy usage.

New control technology will be installed to conserve energy and prevent waste, as well as energy-saving LED lighting. The Hall currently recycles all bottles, PET plastic bottles, paper and cardboard and incinerates all non-recyclable waste to turn it into energy. It also aims to remove all single-use plastic and work with partners to turn food waste into energy.

Julia Barrett, chief sustainability officer, Willmott Dixon, said: “The UN Climate Action Summit was a timely reminder of the urgent action needed to tackle global warming. As well as action taken by nation states to reverse the rise in carbon emissions to safeguard our future generations, business too needs to play a part. That’s why it’s important to see the leadership shown by Bristol Music Trust in driving this agenda by aiming to be the first carbon neutral concert hall in the UK.”

Other Bristol establishments have been making strides towards carbon neutrality, with Bristol University also declaring a carbon neutral goal for 2030 and new housing development Ashton Rise being fitted with sustainable low-carbon heating.

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