How You Can Reduce Carbon Emissions

Tue 5 July 2022

As part of MAC’s Active Travel campaign, we are encouraging our audiences to consider how they travel to us. Switching to more sustainable travel is a great way to give our environment a helping hand and reduce carbon emissions – but did you know that there are alternative solutions to help reduce your emissions besides just switching to a bicycle? Read our top tips:

Reduce carbon emissions: Food

Eating local and organic food can have amazing environmental effects. Growing your own food can be both therapeutic and really beneficial towards reducing harmful emissions,  it has been estimated that 13% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions result from the production and transport of food. In particular, meat consumption is responsible for releasing greenhouse gases such as methane, CO2, and nitrous oxide, which all heavily contribute to climate change.

Here at MAC, we’ve made some changes to the food and drink we serve on site. If you’d like to read about how MAC is catering for greener lifestyles, read our blog here. You can also try growing your own food – read our interview with our freelance gardener Matt O'Callaghan, where he shared his tips and advice.

MAC's Gardener Matt O'Callaghan & CEO Debbie Kermode

Reduce carbon emissions: Planting trees

Trees are the vital lungs of our earth. They help to intake toxic carbon dioxide emissions, and exchange them for the oxygen we all breathe. As deforestation begins to increase, so do the carbon emissions, and this is starting to become a significant problem. With organisations such as Ecologi, you can sign up and plant your very own tree.

Another great resource for the plantation of trees is Ecosia. Ecosia is a free browser extension that you install which uses your searches to plant trees. It works by showcasing specific ads to generate income for the company, so that they can then plant the trees. See below a diagram from their website.

We’re working with our gardener to make more green spaces on site, including our Pocket Garden. We are currently involved in growing plants that can be used for dying fabrics in our textile courses.

MAC is based in the beautiful Cannon Hill Park, which is full of diverse plants, trees, wildlife and flowers. Be sure to have a cycle or walk through and have a look at what it has to offer!

Reduce carbon emissions: Domestic adjustments

One quick and easy way to help make a big impact on reducing your carbon emission intake can be as simple as just switching your household light bulb. Energy Saving Trust quotes that “A modern LED bulb uses 80-90% less energy than a traditional lightbulb. If you replace all the bulbs in your home with LED lights, you could reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by up to 65kg a year. This is equivalent to the carbon dioxide emitted by driving your car around 220 miles.” The comparison is huge, but the change is tiny to help reduce carbon emissions.

At MAC, we have spent £30K on changing nearly 400 fittings from compact fluorescent to LED. Some of the areas of the building which have been converted to LED lighting include: First Floor Gallery, Terrace Gallery, Hexagon Theatre, Kitchen, Painting & Drawing Studio, Foyer, Office, Café, Main Toilets, Randle Studio and first floor bridges. The switch is estimated to save over 23000kWh and £10K per year compared to the original fittings. We continue a programme of LED replacement, most recently the ceramics and arts studios which are projected to save 4850 kWh per year. 

Additionally, with summer now upon us, it’s the perfect season to get the washing line out - hanging clothes out to dry is both extremely environmentally and financially friendly. The sun is also great for disinfecting and bleaching clothes – just be careful with darker laundry!

Another smaller household change worth noting, relates to water. Making sure to switch off your tap when brushing your teeth can save up to three or four gallons of water per person, per day. This is equivalent to 100 four-minute showers - helping both your pockets, as well as the environment.

An example of the new LED light instalments in our Arena Gallery. | Credit: Tegen Kimbley

Reduce carbon emissions: Transport

In January the charity ‘Possible’ ran a trial with 10 drivers in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and London. They asked them to give up their cars for 21 days and report back.

In the end, most of the participants actually saved carbon and money! All participants reported using their cars less or using alternative modes for some journeys - with some even selling their cars - so the trial demonstrates how a short intervention to reorganise routines can create long-term behaviour change. You can see the case studies here.

The charity Possible is running a project called Going Car Free 2022 throughout July. If you are a driver and would like offers that might make it easier to take fewer car journeys, you can sign up here. When you join, you will also be entered into a prize draw to win some great prizes - the top prize is a Brompton folding bike!

Read about how you can get to us via more sustainable travel here.

Set of bike racks located on MAC's Terrace.

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