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Green Guardians: Event Infrastructure

The Green Guardians Guide, spearheaded by the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) and IQ Magazine, is a new yearly initiative boosting the profiles of those working at the forefront of sustainability, in the hope that it might also inspire others.

The 2021 list, which originally ran in IQ 103, includes 40 entries across eight categories, highlighting some of the organisations and individuals who are working so tirelessly to reduce the carbon footprint of the live entertainment business.

This year’s winners have been chosen by a judging panel that includes experts from A Greener Festival, Greener Events, Julie’s Bicycle, the Sustainability in Production Alliance, the Sustainable Event Council and the Tour Production Group.

IQ will publish entries across all categories over the coming weeks. Catch up on the previous instalment of the Green Guardians Guide which looks at artists and activists.

Continest container units are a market-leading, award-winning and eco-friendly portable accommodation solution, utilising innovative foldable container technology. The flat-packed containers are specially constructed to enable quick and easy transportation, installation and relocation, and their groundbreaking design has won plaudits around the world.

A great solution for events, venues and brands looking to increase their facility and temporary accommodation capacity in an environmentally conscious way, Continest provides solutions to help meet sustainability targets. Due to their patented design, multiple units can be transported on a single truck, enabling huge savings on road.

In 2020, d&b launched its Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) programme offering customers reconditioned loudspeaker systems

d&b audiotechnik
Aware of the impact that the live entertainment industry has on the environment, d&b makes a conscious effort to ensure that sustainability is a permanent part of its mission with the company developing effective programmes to support this undertaking.

d&b is EMAS certified, meaning it observes a set of guiding principles, including upholding human rights and well-being, resource protection, energy and emission reduction, product responsibility, sustainable innovation, and much more.

In 2020, d&b launched its Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) programme offering customers reconditioned loudspeaker systems. Purchasers benefit from a rider-friendly sound reinforcement system while helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the consumption of raw materials.

This programme makes d&b one of the first sound companies to adopt an organised approach to sustainability and reliability in the pro audio industry. The first-ever CPO J-Series system was recently installed at Westville Music Bowl in Connecticut, USA.

d&b is committed to ensuring its new products are environmentally responsible as well. The recently launched D40 amplifier combines advanced voltage management to drive systems that demand less input power. The D40 includes enhanced energy-saving features, power efficiency and automatic wake-up for environmentally responsible and sustainable green building requirements.

Alongside recycling and responsible disposal of end-of-life equipment, PRG regularly rebalances equipment to reduce freight

Sustainable practices have been at the heart of PRG’s ongoing development throughout the pandemic. The company now boasts a huge global network, having set up a group of 22 digital studios around the world in one year, including xR Virtual Production Studios in Los Angeles, Hamburg and Paris.

This ensures that the company’s EMEA customer base has access to PRG’s state-of-the-art facilities and expertise wherever they are in the world.

This global reach is aided by The PRG Alliance, a series of 15 partner companies worldwide that support clients locally with an exceptional quality of innovative event production solutions.

The company’s commitment to providing consistent service locally is mobilised largely thanks to the PRG Crew Platform, which allows warehouses and events to be staffed with local talent, reducing the global carbon footprint involved in transporting employees.

PRG is also committed to sustainable practices in its technology and is a member of various industry accredited programmes, including Albert.

Alongside its recycling and responsible disposal of end-of-life equipment, PRG regularly rebalances equipment to reduce freight.

Its products adhere to this sustainable mission. The PRG SpaceframeTM, for example, is an ultra-lightweight, collapsible and fully wind-braced, carbon-fibre touring frame with integrated LED panels. This product dramatically reduces pre-tour engineering time, shipping footprint/weight, carbon emissions, load-in and load-out times, as well as labour required on tour and locally.

NNNN has succeeded in designing speaker solutions that reduce energy consumption by up to 90% compared to other brands

NNNN was created to target the audio market with a disruptive solution and mindset, combining acoustic quality with sustainability.

The company’s patents enable it to do with sound what LED did with light, and it has succeeded in designing speaker solutions that reduce energy consumption by up to 90% compared to other brands.

As yet another UN climate report has made abundantly clear, developing more sustainable solutions is a no-brainer. Yet, NNNN says it still experiences challenges with businesses that choose traditional solutions over greener alternatives. Therefore, it has been key for the company to both initiate and join conversations, both nationally and internationally, with regard to sustainable development in the live entertainment industry.

In spite of Covid, a lot has been happening at NNNN in the past year:
▶ The company has been developing new products, making better and more sustainable audio solutions available for green buildings, houses of culture, and consumers.
▶ In November 2020, NNNN won the Green Founder award – an initiative established by Drammen Rotary to accelerate green and sustainable development in the region.
▶ NNNN has been Eco-Lighthouse certified, which is the most widely used environmental certification scheme in Norway, verified to hold the quality and standard matching international eco-labeling schemes (EMAS and ISO 14001).
▶ The company also became an associate member of A Greener Festival.

Tait is continuing to build dedicated resources to empower clients and design teams to call on its vast library

During 2020 and into 2021, Tait focused on updating its library of assets, making all assets available for use globally and throughout the business.

This builds on practices that the company has developed over many years and optimises sustainable use and reuse of equipment.

Crucially, this also reduces reliance on virgin materials. In addition, Tait is continuing to build dedicated resources to empower clients and design teams to call on this vast library of existing components.

This year, Tait’s UK offices are beginning the transition to renewable energy, and its waste and recycling streams are being monitored to ensure it maximises recycling potential.

The company’s UK facilities in Neasden and Haverhill are now both ISO14001 accredited, and it has installed infrastructure to collate carbon emissions for Scope 1 & Scope 2 and key elements from Scope 3 globally. This will form the basis for Tait’s carbon reduction strategy.

The group has partnered with organisations such as the Sustainability in Production Alliance (SiPA), Theatre Green Book, and Live Green to help drive industry-wide change, educate teams, and further sustainability efforts.

In order to give back to the communities and institutions that helped build the success of the organisation, Tait’s principal sustainability advocate, Carol Scott, guest lectures at colleges and universities on incorporating sustainable practices into the ecosystem of live events.


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World’s biggest speaker install for world’s busiest venue

The Royal Albert Hall today took the wraps off its new £2 million sound system – the largest loudspeaker installation in a single room, and one designed to futureproof the iconic London venue’s sound requirements for the next 150 years.

At a launch event at the 5,544-capacity Victorian arena this morning, Royal Albert Hall (RAH) chief executive Craig Hassall revealed the RAH hosted a record-breaking 401 shows in its main auditorium alone last year, cementing its status as the “world’s busiest venue” by number of events.

While the venue opened in 1871, and is named in memory of Prince Albert, the late husband of Queen Victoria – it recently established a 150th anniversary committee chaired by UTA’s Neil Warnock, in preparation for its birthday plans in 2021 – Hassall said the hall is “not a museum, or a mausoleum, or a monument; we’re a venue”, and the forward-thinking sound install is a reflection of that ethos.

Costing over £2m, the project is the biggest improvement to the venue’s sound since the installation of its acoustic ‘mushrooms’ 50 years ago, in 1969. From conception to installation, the audio overhaul took 693 days of labour, with the speakers themselves installed overnight over the course of six months last year. “It didn’t interrupt a single show,” said Hassall, with the hall staying open the entire time.

Steve Jones of manufacturer d&b audiotechnik, whose speakers were used in the 465-box installation, comments: “The Royal Albert Hall presents a sound system designer with some of the most unique geometry in the world, [so] it was essential that the final audio system design delivered a significant improvement to the amplified sound in this venue.

“Audiences can expect a level of audio quality and consistency across all seats which was never before achievable”

“Using the latest 3D modelling and simulation techniques from leading acousticians Sandy Brown, we were able to pinpoint exactly how, where and what speakers we needed to install, maximising the clarity, intelligibility and musicality that the audience expect from a world-class venue.

“Audiences can now expect a level of audio quality and consistency across all seats which has never before been achievable.”

The new system comprises a main hang of line arrays from the grade-I listed building’s roof, along with smaller speakers in every box and stall, eliminates the “mushy sound” caused by firing the audio from the stage up into the higher seats, said Jones, as well as the RAH’s infamous echo, which persisted to some extent even after the mushrooms were installed. (“In the old days, they used to say that the hall offered value for money because you’d get to hear every concert twice,” joked Hassell.)

“Kylie Minogue, Take That, Frank Sinatra – these are just some of the incredible artists who have played the hall, and, like them, the hall constantly has to challenge perceptions and reinvent itself for modern audiences,” says Hassell in a statement announcing the d&b system’s launch.

“This investment is about more than just updating the sound system – it’s about futureproofing the building as we approach our 150th anniversary in 2021 so that it is fit for another 150 years.”


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