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The use of diesel generators to power UK events produces over one million tonnes of CO2 equivalent and costs the industry £220m per year
By Anna Grace on 31 May 2019
A recent report has revealed the public health impact of the UK festival and events industry, detailing the level of diesel emissions and carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) produced by events each year.
Environmental sustainability management company Hope Solutions and power management specialists ZAP Concepts worked together with event industry professionals to produce the report in the run up to this year’s air pollution-focused World Environment Day on 5 June.
“Our findings show event sites in green spaces have worse air quality than inner-city areas, indicating a huge hidden contributor to the growing public health epidemic from air pollution,” says Hope Solutions director Luke Howell.
“We are releasing this report to open up the conversation with the industry to effect positive and practical change without diminishing customer experience. For the organisers, every litre of diesel not used is saving money and contributing to the fight against climate change.”
The emissions from the 380m litres of diesels used to power events release 1.2m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, the unit used to express the impact of each greenhouse gas in relation to CO2. This is approximately the same level of emissions as the European island country of Malta releases per year.
The environmental impact of the diesel emissions is equivalent to adding 220,000 additional cars to the roads every day.
“The show must go on but it could go on in a far more sustainable manner, without risking people’s health and without risking the planet”
The report suggests that diesel consumption could be reduced by up to 40% on average at each event, with some being able to avoid diesel use altogether through renewables and hybrid battery technologies.
Using mains or grid power can also negate the need for generators but, states the report, is often overlooked and under utilised, especially in urban areas.
The use of more efficient generators would also help to reduce emissions. Monitoring shows that diesel generators are often running well under full capacity, with efficiency ratings of between 10 and 20%.
ZAP Concepts UK head of operations, Rob Scully, says that events could reduce consumption “without risking any loss of power, any blackouts or any detrimental effect on the quality of the events.”
Scully states that “Venue managers and event managers should take professional advice in order to properly direct their power contractor and ensure that available power is matched to actual demand and where possible introduce renewables and other alternatives.
“The show must go on but it could go on in a far more sustainable manner, without risking people’s health and without risking the planet.”
The report draws on data collected by A Greener Festival, Julie’s Bicycle and Powerful Thinking, as well as 20 million data points of electronic monitoring, analysed by ZAP. The full report is available to read online here.
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