Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dance Moves that Generate Electricity

I frequently visit live music venues. I can't remember the last time that I saw a recycling bin available for public use ... and trust me, I look for them! So I was very psyched when I found an article in the Nov/Dec 2008 issue of E: The Environmental Magazine about dance clubs that are going green!

Some stats from the article:
* The average dance club uses 150,000 watts of electricity.

* Temple Nightclub opened in San Francisco, in 2004:
- Diverts 89% of its landfill waste.
- Use corn-based biodegradable cups.
- Emloys a Director of Sustainability - Mike Zuckerman.
- Use rainwater collection system for toilet plumbing.
- Boasts a vertical garden that landscapes teh exterior of the club (located in a100 year-old building.)
- Considering giving $1 discount on drinks to a patron who re-use his/her cup.
- Energy generating dance floor!

* Other establishments of note:
- The Butterfly Social Club in Chicago, IL
- Beta Nightclub in Denver, CO (spokesperson is Cathering Nguyen)
- Greenhouse in NYC (spokesperson Adam Starkman; ownder John B.)

* The green clubs trend started with a company called Qurrent BV, based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands (spokesperson is Vera Verkooijen).
- The first company to devise the energy-generating dance floor.
- Each dancer generates 5-10 watts of energy, depending on the size of the dancer, and how energetically the person is dancing.
- The company won Richard Branson's contest, the Green Challenge, and a prize of €500,000 (US$700,000), for their winning entry "The Sustainable Dance Club." "The Sustainable Dance Club" entry was selected from a pool of 400 projects that originated in 50 countries.

This is the company's story --

Interestingly, the annual Virgin Festival, which takes place in Baltimore, MD is a Richard Branson event. Branson aims to make it an environmentally friendly festival. In 2007, I was a member of the green team, organized by the Spitfire Agency. It was a great success! The festival diverted 90% of the waste by establishing recycling, trash, and compost bins for use by fans, bands, and crew. Check out the Virgin Mobile USA press release.

Richard Branson and actress Daryl Hannah, are among the first to check out the University of MD's "light bike" at the Virgin Festival, in Baltimore in early August of 2007. They had this bike custom made to demonstrate alternative forms of power. If you ride the bike, you have a choice to power the traditional incandescent light or the compact fluorescent. To power the traditional bulb, you have to peddle 4x as hard as you would have to peddle, to light the fluorescent bulb!

Branson also held a contest that awarded an environmentally-themed concert, Flick-Fest, to a Canadian city.

From CBC Radio 3's blog:

"Humanity's window to act on climate change is narrowing," said Branson in a press release. "And it's up to each of us to find new ways of getting more people involved in this global fight. So next spring, Estevan will hold a carbon-neutral party to raise awareness-spreading the word to more Canadians. It's going to be a blast."

To win the contest, people across Canada had to log on to, and test out the site's carbon calculator, which measures people's environmental impact, then offers up tips for improvements they can make. Estevan won the concert because it had the most people per capita sign on and measure their footprint. (No measurements were done after that to see whether or not people actually made changes.)

Also, if you missed it - in 2007 Al Gore and Branson teamed up to offer a $25 million (£12.5 million) Earth Challenge Prize to the person who comes up with the best way of removing significant amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

For those interested in this kind of thing, an enviro social networking and activism site, called Green Thing was a runner up, in Branson's 2007 the Green Challenge contest. One of Green Things co-founders Andy Hobsbawm spoke at TED 2008.

Here's Andy's talk. Andy shares a fresh ad campaign about going green -- and some of the fringe benefits.

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