A new set of environmental performance benchmarks for performing arts venues and major festivals have been published by environment experts Julie’s Bicycle, providing organisations with relevant comparisons to how well they perform against national averages. The new performing arts benchmarks (110 kWh/m2 for electricity and 140kWh/m2 for gas) have been designed around the specifics of arts activities, drawing on energy data from over 100 performing arts venues including theatres, music venues, arenas, dance venues and rehearsal spaces. They are thought to be more robust than the TM46 entertainment hall benchmark used by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), and Julie’s Bicycle’s data will be used by CIBSE to improve their own benchmarks.

The large and major festivals benchmark is the first of its kind, and described as a “breakthrough for the festival sector in understanding and mitigating environmental impacts”. The benchmarks are stated per audience member day – 0.5 litres of diesel, 1.6kg of waste, 10 litres of water and 1.8kg of resulting CO2 emissions. Twelve music festivals with 20,000 or more attenders provided the data from which the benchmarks have been set – small and medium music festivals and other outdoor events were excluded from the calculation due to insufficient data. Data gathered from over 700 Arts Council England funded organisations in 2011/12 will be now be used to create a more sophisticated set of benchmarks for a wider variety of activity types.