Sustainable MAC

Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) is committed to making arts an important part of people’s lives through work which pushes creative boundaries and encourages engagement with the arts on all levels. Rooted in our local economy and communities, we are committed to ensuring our work has a minimal impact on the environment, and where possible actively promotes sustainable ways of working.


1. To fully understand, monitor and control our environmental impacts and carbon footprint.

2. To create an Environmental Action Plan which tracks and measures these performances

3. To form a committed Green Group which meets quarterly at a minimum, where our performance is reviewed, appraised and future plans are evolved

4. To respond proactively to new legislation and find new approaches to sustainable models of work

5. To working collaboratively with other relevant organisations, sharing our performance and experience with transparency

6. To save money, which will then be re-invested into our work as a not-for-profit charity

7. Share this work with our stakeholders including visitors, staff, board and supporters.

To deliver this, Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) aims to:

1. Participate in, and achieve the following levels in external accreditation schemes or award nominations

a. Industry Green accreditation

b. Birmingham Sustainability Awards

2. Communicate our aims and impacts to staff and visitors using our green display in the public spaces, and digitally with a green group blog on our website.

3. Achieve a year on year reduction (target of 5% per annum) in our utilities consumption, when measured against our footfall levels. We will use Julie’s Bicycle to monitor this.

4. Share our learning and performance through active membership through the following networks

a. Sustainability WM

b. WM Green Network

5. Implement green procurements policies, encouraging suppliers and visiting artists to improve their sustainability performance particularly in relation to energy and resource use

6. Form an active group with our neighbouring venues to look at better use of shared resources. Propose the formation of a Birmingham Arts Partnership (BAP) Green Group.

Achievements to date:

Green Group

This is made up of volunteers across MAC. We meet regularly to discuss how to make MAC more sustainable. We have developed an Environmental Policy and Environmental Action Plan and work on projects throughout the year, including EcoFest.

Voltage Optimisation System

Installed in January 2017, the Voltage Optimisation System reduces MAC's voltage consumption, sending excess back to the grid and saving an estimated 53,520 kWh per year.

Eco Fest

MAC hosted its first Eco Festival in August 2016, offering free workshops and activities throughout the day. Local organisations were on hand to help the public increase their eco friendly credentials.

Solar Panels

MAC has had a 9.9-kilowatt solar PV system installed on the roof since December 2011. There are 55 modules on the roof over the main gallery, angled towards the park. The system generates around 9000 kWh per year - 50% of which is used on site and 50% fed back into the grid.

Energy Saving 

MAC has replaced lighting with low wattage LED alternatives in the First Floor Gallery, Terrace and Arena Galleries, Hexagon Theatre, Kitchen, Painting & Drawing Studio, Foyer, Cafe pendants and Main Toilets, making an estimated annual energy saving of 33,370 kWh.


MAC is lucky to be situated on the Rea Valley Cycle Route, meaning it's easy to get here by bike!

In June 2015, with funding from Birmingham City Council’s Top Cycle Location Grant, we had a secure cycle shelter installed for staff.

Alongside Birmingham Cycle Revolution we have held several 'Dr Bike' events, where staff were able to have their bikes serviced and security marked. Staff also attended bike maintenance training.

MAC has been awarded a Birmingham Cycle Revolution Silver Top Cycle Location award for encouraging staff cycling.


We now sell reusable coffee cups, with a discount on hot drinks when using them.

We've switched to biodegradable disposables, and no longer use plastic straws. Our sandwich packaging has moved away from plastic to cardboard packaging, which is easier to recycle.

MAC's used coffee grounds are available to customers to use as compost.

We only stock Fairtrade chocolate, coffee and hot chocolate and the coffee is also certified by the Rainforest Alliance.

We source catering supplies locally wherever possible and have changed suppliers of alcohol, coffee and disposables from large organisations to smaller local companies – reducing emissions from transportation.


Last year MAC recycled over 7.5 tonnes of cardboard!

We recycle used cooking oil, and in the last 12 months this has contributed to a greenhouse gas emission reduction of 4740Kg.

We recycle batteries; the battery recycling container can be found behind the Sales & Information desk.

We have recently started separating food waste from our kitchen. Since February 2018, 600 Kg of food waste has been sent to anaerobic digestion.

Our general waste is sorted at a recycling plant and non-recyclable waste is used as refuse-derived fuel. Zero goes to landfill.


MAC is a founder member of Sustainable Arts West Midlands (SAWM); we meet quarterly with other West Midlands arts and heritage organisations to discuss environmental challenges and share best practice.

We have continued our partnership with Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust, they now run a regular 'nature Tots' session at MAC and have also facilitated bat walks as part of our Learning and Participation programme.



MAC has gained a 3 (out of 5) star Creative Green Award from Julie’s Bicycle, which is a great result for a first assessment. See the full assessment here.

We have also received a Birmingham Cycle Revolution Silver Top Cycle Location award for encouraging staff cycling.


MAC were the proud recipients of the Best Energy Reduction Award in the Education category at the Birmingham Sustainability Awards. MAC’s application highlighted the many energy saving and waste reduction polices in place, which include

  • High speed/low energy hand dryers installed in all washrooms
  • Solar panels on our roof which generate over 9,000 units of green energy per annum.
  • Self-closing taps that reduce waterflow.