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The film and television industry has recognized the increasing need for renewable energy. Here's what Doug Healy has to say.

Doug Healy discusses how renewable energy is used on filming sets

The film and television industry has recognized the increasing need for carbon-neutral energy sources. Film sets use a great deal of energy for their camera equipment and lighting, and the lower cost of renewable energy is highly attractive.

Understanding how large and small filmmakers have begun to adopt green energy can show the way for other industries to follow suit. Doug Healy explores the ways in which the film industry has shifted toward green energy.

Solar energy

Since much of the film industry is located in Southern California, solar energy is abundant and inexpensive to produce. Many film studios like 20th Century Fox have launched initiatives to reduce their environmental impact and develop sustainability. In 2007, they produced their first carbon-neutral TV series, 24.

Warner Brothers installed a solar power generation system on the Mill Building. This system was used in part for Christopher Nolan’s 2010 film Inception. In 2013, they increased their dedication to solar energy on the Jason Bateman film Bad Words. The production used solar generators for its office, trailers, communications, and light towers. 

This initiative reduced the amount of diesel fuel that would be needed and reduced the production time. It also helped to build a positive relationship with area residents.

Green Production Guide

These early ventures into renewable energy on film sets have led to greater things. The Producers Guild of America has worked on its Green Production Guide, a tool that helps producers source renewable energy and sustainable materials for its film sets.

Film studios like Amblin Partners, Disney, Fox, NBC Universal, Paramount, and Warner Bros. have been involved in the production and use of the Green Production Guide. This guide contains a directory of over 2,000 eco-friendly vendors and holds information about sustainable services, products, and locations.

The Guide greatly reduces the amount of time and effort that a film producer needs to put in to make their set more sustainable.

EMA Green Seal

The viewing public may not be aware of the environmental impact of their favorite films and TV shows, but producers are becoming more socially responsible. The Environmental Media Association pioneered the EMA Green Seal for film and television productions. Productions are able to perform self-analysis of their sustainability. Inviting EMA to see the set increases the points awarded.

Gold seal recipients for the year 2020 include The Mandalorian, Modern Family, Umbrella Academy, and Defending Jacob

EMA is also involved with promoting environmentally friendly activities on-screen. Recycling, avoiding the use of Styrofoam, and other sustainable activities are encouraged by characters in film and TV production. Thanks to the impact of film and TV characters on young people in particular, environmental awareness will be promoted by these initiatives.

NYC Film Green

According to Doug Healy, major West Coast studios are not the only ones that have made sustainability a priority in their daily work. The NYC Film Green initiative encourages the donation of food from craft services and set dressing materials to community projects like homeless shelters.

Waste reduction, waste diversion, transportation, energy use, and education are all pillars of the NYC Film Green program. In return for participation, filmmakers will receive a mark of certification for their end credits and to place in marketing and promotional materials. Any productions that go above and beyond will receive recognition from the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.

Developing future projects

Fox Studios has been a leader in the use of green and renewable energy. Together with their solar energy adoption, they have also engaged a fleet of hybrid trucks. Their solar project on the roof of the Crafts building has paid for itself since 2011. Fox invested $6 million dollars in renewables, which has quadrupled their total solar capacity to 1.4 megawatts.

The increasing environmental crisis

Today, the world is experiencing severe impacts from global warming and excess waste. Fossil fuels are contributing to global warming by causing the sun’s energy to excessively heat the atmosphere. By reducing the amount of fossil fuels used to generate electricity for film and television sets, the film industry is making a significant contribution toward the health and well-being of the planet.

Understanding how the activities of film and television producers affect the environment can lead to better adoption of solar and wind projects, along with other methods of ensuring sustainability. Douglas Healy encourages all film and television producers to lessen their economic impact and go carbon neutral. 

He also encourages film producers to donate unused food and materials from their sets to the less fortunate, contributing to a smaller waste stream and a more charitable outlook for the industry.

The film industry has become a leader in sustainability, and they provide a positive example for businesses that want to increase their eco-friendliness.

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