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Environmental Sustainability

Environmental Sustainability

The National Theatre has taken some major steps towards improving environmental sustainability. Those include conducting long-term monitoring and investing in the efficiency of our building. 

  • We’ve achieved a 25% reduction in the energy carbon impact for our South Bank building since 2016.
  • Our building now has a B rated Display Energy Certificate – improved from a G a decade ago.  
  • 67% of non-production waste is now recycled, a big step towards our target of 75% by 2022.

Read on to find out about some of the other ways in which we're reducing our environmental impact.

You can also read our Environmental Policy

Energy

All of the electricity that powers the NT from the national grid is generated by wind and solar. We also generate some of our electricity on site through our combined heat and power plant.

In the last few years we’ve significantly updated our 1970s building to make it more energy efficient. This includes new LED lighting in our auditoriums and foyers and improved monitoring systems which reduce energy use. Our Display Energy Certificate is now a B rating (up from a G rating a decade ago).

National Thetare building with green exterior lighting

Heating and cooling

The Max Rayne Centre, our production building constructed as part of the NT Future redevelopment project in 2013, is heated and cooled by a ground source heat pump.

The pump uses the ambient, below-ground temperature, transferring heat from the ground in winter and back into the ground in summer, via a network of pipes running through twelve 120m deep boreholes.

 

National Theatre Max Rayne Centre, from the south east side of the building

Waste

We currently recycle 67% of our commercial waste. We want to reach 75% by 2022 and reduce non-recyclable waste.

The new reusable cups in our bars saved over 200,000 single-use plastic cups in the first three months. Coffee grounds are collected and turned into eco-heating briquettes. Over 6 months we collected 5 tonnes of coffee grounds, which made 4200 briquettes.
 

National Theatre re-usable cup, filled with beer being held

Food and drink

Working with the Sustainable Restaurant Association in 2018, we reviewed and refreshed our food and drink policy, taking into account ethics and carbon footprint.

The policy means that all fresh meat and at least 60% of fruit and veg must be from the UK. Any produce from outside the UK must be Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance. Our menus also now have a greater number of vegetarian and vegan options.

National Theatre kitchen with staff

Water

Our water extraction plant draws water from the London chalk aquifer, reducing our reliance on mains water supplies. We can extract up to 120 cubic-metres of water each day - enough to fully meet our demand for non-drinking water.

The Max Rayne Centre also has a rainwater collection tank which supplies water to all toilets in the building, the Dorfman Theatre, and the Clore Learning Centre. 

National Theatre Max Rayne Centre, from the south east side of the building

Biodiversity

We have several hives and a sedum roof on our workshops, from which bees forage for up to 3 miles. The honey they produce is available in small quantities in our shop.

The beds on our terraces and outside the NT are planted with flowers and greenery that bees will enjoy.

 

National Theatre rooftop hives and honey jar

Sustainable production

We currently recycle 43% of our production waste and are aiming for 49% by 2022.

We are working with our production teams to examine every step of the process of bringing shows to the stage and understand how to reduce their environmental impact. We aim to develop a sustainable production model and will share what we learn with the sector.
 

Sustainable production at the National Theatre with a staff member selecting plywood from a rack

Touring

With Julie’s Bicycle, we are one of the first two theatre companies participating in a pilot Creative Green certification scheme for the touring sector. We’re working to better measure the environmental impact of touring and to understand how to reduce it.

National Theatre production image for War Horse on tour,with Joey

Working with industry

The National Theatre is member of Arts Council England and Julie’s Bicycle's Spotlight scheme. We’ve been awarded a 4 star ‘Creative Green’ rating by Julie’s Bicycle, with high score ratings for our commitment and understanding of environmental issues.

Creative Green 4 star logo

Nowhere to Call Home

Projected on our iconic fly tower as well as streaming online, this project featured voices from people around the world whose way of life is under threat from climate change.

View on Google Arts & Culture

Nowhere to Call Home Climate Change and Forced Migration