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Broadway goes green

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Boradway goes green

Credit: Wikimedia / Aimée Tyrrell

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NEW YORK: Broadway's light shine just as bright, but they're now more eco-friendly, thanks to a new environmental initiative.

"Broadway Goes Green" is part of the larger PlaNYC scheme, introduced by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2006, which challenges all New York residents and businesses to help reduce the city's carbon footprint 30 per cent by 2030.

All three of the city's major theatre owners—Jujamcyn Theatres, the Shubert Organisation and the Nederlander Organisation—have committed to the green initiative.

"By this time next year, the lights on Broadway will burn just as bright, but the energy bills and our City's carbon output will be lower. This commitment will raise the level of awareness for everyone involved in these shows—including the audiences—and that's going to have an impact that reverberates far beyond the Big Apple," said Bloomberg.

Bright lights

Broadway uses a massive amount of energy to illuminate its marquees; just one theatre, the St. James, has more than 600 light bulbs.

According to Jennifer Hershey, director of operations for Jujamcyn, the original incandescent lights are being replaced with compact fluorescent lights (CFL), cold cathode fluorescent lamps and light emitting diodes (LEDs).

CFLs have a life of 10,000, while cold cathodes last approximately 25,000 hours and LEDs last a whopping 50,000. The average incandescent lasts only 750-1,000 hours.

So far, ten of Broadway's 39 theatres have made changes to marquee lights, 14 have changes underway and the rest have committed to follow suit within the next year.

Other ways to go green

In addition to lighting, the Broadway theatres are initiating a number of other tactics to reduce their overall footprint. Some of the plans include using green alternatives for stage scenery, using water and other resources more efficiently, instituting recycling programs, and using local vendors.

The theatre owners are also developing educational programs for vendors, producers, and employees to increase awareness of environmental impacts and energy saving tips.

According to Hershey, Jujamcyn theatres are taking even more specific steps, including painting roofs with reflective paint to repel heat, insulating heating systems, using recycled toilet paper and paper towels, and using non-toxic cleaning products. They've also taken bottled water off the menu for theatre executives.

"We offer a nice tall glass of water," she said.

"Broadway reaches a huge audience, so in addition to Broadway doing our part to help the Earth, we hope to encourage theatre-goers to take personal action to make meaningful changes in their daily lives," said Nina Lannan, chair of The Broadway League, a trade organisation for Broadway theatres.