For Theatres, It’s Not Easy Being Green

tree-pic.gifWe have written before that our new theatre will be “green.” It’s a term we see applied to so many products and organizations. But what does that mean for a building, and specifically a theatre?

We are in the midst of a green building revolution. The U.S. Green Building Council estimates that the green building industry – a term rarely heard of a decade ago – is $12 billion this year. The U.S.G.B.C. administers a rating system for green buildings – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) – that has become the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of buildings that reduce energy use and their impact on the environment. LEED has four degrees of certification: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

Theatre for a New Audience’s future home is designed with the target of attaining LEED Silver status. While this is an ambitious goal that requires significant up-front investment, we believe that the benefits of energy and water conservation, reduced waste, improved indoor environmental air quality, greater comfort for employees and patrons, and lower operations and maintenance costs more than justify this effort. Furthermore, by building and operating sustainably, we offer an additional community benefit by adding to Brooklyn’s cultural and educational life while reducing the resources we consume.

From the beginning of the design process, Theatre for a New Audience has fully integrated sustainable design into its plans. Our architects are partnering with Atelier Ten, a leading environmental design firm, to lead our team in creating a design, construction, and operations plan that will serve as a model for theatres nationwide.

Throughout the design process, energy modeling projects the impact of our energy efficiency measures. Our most recent energy model anticipates that these measures will reduce energy costs by 38% from those of typical theatres of our size. We are also partnering with NYSERDA (NY State Energy Reduction and Development Authority) to take advantage of a variety of resources and incentives for energy efficiency.

A theatre is a workplace – for artists, for back- and front-of-house staff, and administrative employees. We are building a theatre that will be a healthy workplace as well as a place for audiences to visit, learn, and be inspired.

Some Green Features of the Building Will Include:bike-pic.gif
* Filtration and re-use of storm water
* Reduced heat-island effect through a white roof and landscaping
* Water use reduced by more than 30%
* Use of recycled steel and other building materials
* Use of low-emitting materials
* Recycling and salvage of construction waste
* Proximity to public transportation
* Bicycle storage for patrons, artists and staff
* Controllability of lighting and ventilation
* A green cleaning program
* An educational component

To learn more about LEED and building green, visit the U.S. Green Building Council at