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Hall for Cornwall puts arts on carbon cutting map

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Hall for Cornwall has become the first arts organisation in the UK to complete a year of carbon emission cuts as part of the nationwide 10:10 campaign, breaking its 10% target and achieving CO2 reductions of 17%.

Launched in September 2009, 10:10 was set up to encourage businesses, schools and individuals to commit to cut their carbon emissions by 10% in 2010. More than 100 arts organisations have signed up, including the Royal Opera House, National Theatre Wales, BAFTA and all the theatres owned by Ambassador Theatre Group.

Based in a 19th-century building in Truro, Hall for Cornwall cut its gas consumption by 40% and its electricity usage by 7% as part of its overall 17% reduction in carbon emissions.

Barry Philpott, Hall for Cornwall’s premises manager, said: “By building awareness among HFC’s staff and continuing investment in more efficient LED lighting we’ve been able to work towards a more sustainable future.”

10:10 campaign co-ordinator Harriet Bell said the venue’s performance was “particularly good”.

Bell added that relatively small changes could make a big contribution to reducing carbon emissions. She said: “You can make big savings just by considering when different areas of the building are being used. It is about getting into good habits and turning off in practice spaces, because people often have studios that they use for practices as well as the main stage, and they are often equally big and difficult to heat. So switching things off in those rooms when your rehearsals are finished can make a big difference to an organisation.”

Paul Reeve, who is leading the ROH’s 10:10 effort, after it signed up last September, agreed that influencing people’s daily habits was crucial.

He said: “Being a huge theatre necessitates a huge use of power. That is exacerbated when you are, like us and many West End theatres, a Grade II-listed building, much of which dates back to the middle of the 19th century, so you are quite limited in certain ways.

“Nevertheless, there are some very basic things you can do and get your staff to do to try to make a difference. It’s about trying to get into good habits.”

The 10:10 campaign has now been extended indefinitely and organisations and individuals can still sign up to try and achieve a 10% reduction in their carbon emissions over a year.

It is estimated that the total commitments of people and organisations who have already signed up amounts to one million tonnes of CO2.

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