Sustainable MAC

Making Our Building Greener

Energy Saving

Areas of the building which have been converted to LED lighting include: First Floor Gallery, Terrace Gallery, Hexagon Theatre, Kitchen, Painting & Drawing Studio, Foyer, Café, Main Toilets, Randle Studio and first floor bridges. Between them these are estimated to save over 30,000 kWh and over £4000 per year compared to the original fittings.

Lighting technology doesn’t stand still – more efficient lighting can be better quality too! As part of MAC’s ongoing commitment to improve customer experience and access to art, we worked with a company called Erco to upgrade the lighting in our Arena Gallery. The new lighting has made the whole space feel lighter and brighter, and artwork can be viewed with much more clarity and colour accuracy. On top of that, the new lighting is much more efficient than previously, with nearly a third fewer watts per unit and a much higher luminance per watt. The new fixtures are also dimmable, which means that as well as being able to light artwork more sensitively we will also save energy when they are dimmed to a lower level.

We monitor our energy use carefully, and our Building Energy Management System makes sure that heating and ventilation is only switched on when needed.

In January 2019 The Carbon Trust carried out an energy audit and produced a report. They say: 

"Midlands Arts Centre has many good aspects of energy management in place, their commitment to sustainability is clearly displayed on their website and good practice with regard to energy analysis and control was observed."

From 1 October 2021, MAC now has a Green electricity contract. Energy from a renewable source will be applied to 100% of actual consumption. 

MAC has achieved a year on year reduction in energy use since 2016

In early 2021 MAC replaced the boilers with more energy efficient models. Since reopening in May 2021 this has meant a 17% reduction in gas use compared to 2019.

We continue a programme of LED replacement, most recently the ceramics and arts studios which are projected to save 4850 kWh per year.  

Recent capital projects have had an emphasis on moving away from fossil fuel use and use electricity for hot water and new heating.

We closely monitoring MAC’s energy use using Julie’s Bicycle; Stark electricity data and also take weekly submeter reads.

Our Building Energy Management System ensures that plant is used efficiently, and it is programmed to ensure heating and cooling is only used when needed.

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.

Pocket Garden

During 2021, MAC announced the completion of a new accessible artist studio and sensory garden as part of an ambitious on-site renovation project, generously supported by funding from Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) and Arts Council England (ACE).

Freelance gardener Matt O’Callaghan has recently helped to bring some life to our new Pocket Garden.

Read our interview with Matt here!