Sustainability Spotlight: How the Theatre Royal Winchester saved £3K a year through changing the lights

In the recent Act Green survey of theatre-going audiences by indigo, 86% of respondents said they were concerned about environmental issues, which is higher than the UK population as a whole. This desire for climate action combined with the soaring energy costs makes it even more pertinent for venues to be doing more to lower their energy usage and be seen for doing it. house wants to highlight all of the venues taking steps to make their organisations more sustainable to inspire others of some of the simplest ideas for practical changes.

First up we speak to Desmond Webb, site manager for Theatre Royal Winchester who has been in charge of installing new front of house and stage side LED lights which have helped both in reaching sustainability targets but also for improving technical set-up for performances.

What was the issue you were trying to fix?

In a nutshell, the issue was with front of house and corridor lights, in both public and private areas, being left on unnecessarily and the resulting cost to our electricity bill. It was also proving impossible to get replacement bulbs for the aging existing fittings. The lights had to replace a dome fitting that were installed previously and due to the large number required, purchase cost was an issue.

How did you go about choosing the solution you made?

We were fortunate to win a grant through the Theatre’s Trust Theatre Improvement scheme which gave us the necessary funds to go ahead with the project. The contractor we used is one that regularly carries out works at the theatre, but we bought the fittings directly from the wholesaler as we do get the same discount and avoided the contractor’s mark-up.

The fittings we used are from Fusion (DLDOME14SCCE3) via C.E.F. Winchester Branch and are a mixture of standard and emergency fittings.

What impact will it have on the venue?

The fittings have 4 settings covering detection area, Hold time, Daylight sensor, and have a corridor function, (10% output for a specified period) Different settings have been used for different locations depending on usage and safety factors.

The new side of stage lighting are really useful multi colour wash units which means that each one can do the job of a number of lanterns saving a significant amount of time for our technical team.

At the time, pre Ukraine War & energy crisis, the savings were estimated to be in the region of £3,000 annually, and now will be much higher due to the increase in electrical supply charges.


If you have an operation or technical story about changes you have made to your venue in the name of sustainability please get in touch as we would love to share your success with the network.