Sails light up at carbon-neutral event in Sydney

Wednesday, 18 May, 2016

Sails light up at carbon-neutral event in Sydney

Vivid LIVE is an annual contemporary music festival held by the Sydney Opera House as part of Vivid Sydney. The event will be carbon neutral for a second year running with all electricity used, including the centrepiece ‘Songlines’ Lighting the Sails, powered by 100% Green Power from accredited renewable sources.

The event runs from 27 May to 18 June and for the first time the sails will transform into an animated canvas of Australian Indigenous art featuring iconic contemporary works from Karla Dickens, Djon Mundine, Gabriella Possum Nungurrayi, Reko Rennie, Donny Woolagoodja and the late Gulumbu Yunupingu.

As part of the Opera House’s commitment to reducing environmental impact across the board, a number of other green initiatives will be implemented at this year’s festival event.

A successful Vivid LIVE 2015 pilot that provided surplus edible food to the food-rescue charity OzHarvest will be extended this year, with the Opera House installing dedicated cold storage for the 2016 event. Alongside these food donations, all non-edible food waste from Opera House restaurants will be sent to EarthPower — a nearby facility that uses food waste as a green-energy source.

Thinking outside the bottle, 200 artists and crew will receive re-usable water bottles rather than bottled water — saving an estimated 6000 plastic water bottles across the event.

Attendees will be encouraged through the event’s website to take public transport where possible and, for the first time, an estimated carbon footprint from audience travel will be calculated post-event. E-marketing will also be used where possible to reduce printed materials.

To celebrate the first Indigenous Lighting of the Opera House sails, local produce will take centre stage at bars and restaurants across the precinct.

Highlighting the year-on-year impact of the Vivid LIVE sustainability program, a team of staff recently travelled to Varroville, 50 km south-west of Sydney, to plant almost 1000 trees, which contributed to offsetting the 490 tonnes of carbon emissions generated by 2015’s contemporary music takeover. These trees, which will become a biodiverse native forest, mean that the Opera House is not only reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the long term, it is improving native vegetation in the Sydney region.

Sydney Opera House Environmental Sustainability Manager Naomi Martin said: “One-off initiatives are fine, but it is only through ongoing action to reduce our environmental footprint that we can have a genuine, long-term impact. We have committed to making Vivid LIVE 2016 fully carbon neutral and continuing our partnerships with fantastic organisations such as OzHarvest and Earth Power to that end. We’re also looking for new ways to engage staff in our environmental efforts through projects such as the recent tree-planting day, which we hope will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions well into the future.”

Today’s announcement builds on the Opera House’s ongoing Environmental Sustainability Plan, which, as a result of last year’s program, saw the world-famous performing arts centre awarded with a 4 Star Green Star – Performance rating from the Green Building Council of Australia.

Top image credit: Lighting The Sails. Songlines. Artwork by Karla Dickens.

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