Since Monday is a public holiday with no work, I’m heading out tonight. Start with the sustainability checks: animal-friendly shoes, op-shop dress, eco bag… Check. Scarf from an ethical trading store, just in case it gets too cold later (and yes, you’d get cold at 13°C too if you lived in Western Australia all year)… Check. Found some nice organic wine for pre-drinks, that’s pretty eco, so… Check. Public transport just around the corner… Check. But where to go?
Well that’s a good question. How many nightclubs do you know that incorporate eco-living and sustainable standards into their business? Cafés, shops, hotels, even banks can be found these days with pretty good environmental awareness. But bars and nightclubs? How do they minimise their ecological footprint?
Think about it. How much energy must it take to power sound and lighting systems, to keep drinks cold in refrigerators? The truth is that energy demand in the entertainment/nightlife sector is huge. The average medium-sized club will generate around 90 tonnes of CO2 per year. Multiply that by the number of establishments… You can see where this going.
In Berlin, activists from BUNDjugend (Young Friends of the Earth Germany) have found an ingenious solution to help ‘green’ up their nightclubs: CLUBMOB. The idea is to gather as many people as possible at a party in a particular nightclub, with the understanding that the club will reinvest profits from the event in installations and equipment that consume less energy. BUNDjugend also provides the nightclub with guidelines for efficient energy use/consumption; it calculates water and electricity consumption, and identifies where the club could easily reduce its ecological footprint in future plans.
The first CLUBMOB was held at SO36 in December 2011, and generated more than €2,100. The hosting club has since used the money to install energy-saving light bulbs, environmentally-friendly fridges, and they even switched to a renewable energy electricity supplier. These measures will see SO36 save up to 7,000 kWh annually, the equivalent of 52 tons of CO2 per year. More initiatives were identified, but CLUBMOB doesn’t provide all the funds for a complete ecological re-vamp. Just a heads up and a way to solve a few issues quickly, with information on how to build on that towards a 100% sustainable clubbing environment.
The second CLUBMOB attracted twice as many partygoers. Current revenue estimates are a little lower at €1,000, but that’s still going to be a big helping hand. Calculations for improvements are ongoing as I write, but I’m confident it’ll be another positive win for everyone involved.
It’s not a complete revolution, but it’s a start. Once these businesses realise how easy it is to save money by applying simple measures, a shift towards greener nightclubs is on the way. And after that… well, there are nearly 300 nightclubs in Berlin. 5,500 in Germany. Plenty of places to influence.
We’ve got around 115 bars and nightclubs in Perth. I think it’s time to go check them out and see which ones are sustainably run. If I find one, I’ll let you know, and we can go party like there is a tomorrow.