A nightclub with an average of 180,000 visitors per year consumes approximately 380,000kWh annually. To put this into perspective, an average UK household will have an annual consumption of 4,700kWh annually.
Society puts huge pressure on the population to reduce energy and waste at home but when it comes to going out and having fun it tends to be the last thing on our minds. Given that one night club is the equivalent of 80 households according to the figures above it looks like it is something we should put considerable effort into. But does the responsibility lie with the customers to make better decisions or is it down to the design of the venue itself? A designer has the power to manipulate the user group into being more ‘green’ with or without their consent.
‘Green’ themed design has become a common feature within contemporary interiors and architecture, and is often advertised as a selling point to promote business within a building, manipulating users into opting for a ‘greener’ choice, promoting themselves as a good thing for the environment. However, is this really an attractive option when it comes to having fun on a night out? And, what sort of people would buy into it?
I posed the question to some anonymous opinionated bloggers on an international blogging forum:
‘If you were going to see your favourite band or artist at a venue, would it make any difference to you whether the venue itself was designed to have zero carbon footprint? Would you still go even if you knew that the event would have a high carbon footprint? ‘
The general opinion was that, when it comes to environmental and sustainable issues, most people would spend a little extra and sometime go out of their way to be more environmentally friendly for things in their normal routine at home and for instance, food shopping. But if their favourite band is playing, whilst they would be glad to know if they were doing something good for the environment, they would go to see them regardless of the impact it made on the world. Its all about seeing their favourite artist and having a good time.
Two separate surveys show that firstly, the user group least likely to buy eco-friendly products are females aged 18-20 (women over 50 are most likely), and secondly, whilst people aged 25-34 are more knowledgeable about the scientific facts and their own impact on the environment, their green activity is much lower than people in higher age brackets.
ICOM’s survey shows that women are at both ends of the spectrum. Women over-50 are the most likely to buyeco-friendly products(75% of the people in this group would do so).On the other hand, women ages 18-20 are the least likely to buy such products (19%). ‘
‘Green Living Pulse shows the knowledge foes not always lead to behaviour. Individuals who answered all of the science questions correctly did report participating in a significantly higher average number of green activities-such as driving a fuel-efficient car or lowering their thermostat. However, the 25-34 age group consistently answered the question correctly, yet, on average, their green activity levels were lower than those of older respondants.’
Whilst the venue will be suitable for all adults, the main age group it will be aimed will be 18 to 34 year olds. With the younger part of this group being used to the budget culture of the recession and older members being conditioned by the disposable culture of the eighties, it’s a tough audience when it comes to ‘green’ issues.
There is hope for a ’greener’ music industry in the form of organisations such as Julie’s Bicycle. Established in 2007, Julie’s Bicycle is a non-profit company which provides training, research papers and guidance for the UK music industry as well as other arts and creative industries. They have developed a scheme called Industry Green which provides certification for venues, festivals and offices as well as CD packaging.
In order to create a successful design, it must be well-suited to its user group. The main purpose of a live music venue is to create the best experience for both the audience and the performers. How ‘green’ can you make the design of a venue without detracting from the experience? Should it be a bold statement or subtle adjustments within the design?
What do you think? Please feel free to comment.