Case study: An overview of RTÉ’s commitment to the highest level of energy reduction and sustainability

BITCI News - Environment - Jul 02, 2020

RTÉ is committed to the highest level of energy reduction and sustainability. As Ireland’s public service broadcaster, RTÉ is subject to the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan 2009 – 2020, which looks for the public sector to “lead by example through strong committed action”. RTÉ takes this leadership role by progressing the sustainability agenda on 3 distinct fronts: company, supplier base, and citizen. Due to the societal significance of climate change, RTÉ’s sustainability strategy has given prominence to this issue in its programming and editorial voice.

RTÉ demonstrates its commitment to the highest level of energy reduction and sustainability in the management of its existing infrastructure and in the development of new infrastructure. In order to signpost this clearly, RTÉ has publicly committed to targeting a reduction in carbon emissions by 50% by 2030. Since signing the carbon pledge, the broadcaster has placed its carbon emissions as a key strategic objective in its day-to-day operations. The first step on this journey was to implement accurate energy usage monitoring across RTÉ infrastructure portfolio, identifying highly emitting processes and providing data to continually track progress.

RTÉ has worked in partnership with SEAI for many years to implement best practice standards in energy monitoring and innovations in energy reduction and is committed to exceeding the targets set out by the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP) – to reduce energy consumption by 33% by 2020. To further enhance better energy management practices and be an exemplar organisation in the management of energy, RTÉ is currently working towards ISO50001 certification – an energy management model of continual improvement, which ensures that energy management is integrated into our overall operations.

Particular attention to energy reduction is given during procurement of new network assets as this infrastructure can ‘lock in’ lower energy usage for significant periods. Buildings also represent a significant portion of the corporate carbon footprint and a range of initiatives are underway to reduce this. ‘Low hanging fruit’, such as installing LED lighting solutions, have been implemented and have delivered significant savings to date. Other initiatives include the installation of solar panels on one of the buildings at RTÉ Donnybrook which to date has generated 71 MWh of renewable electricity; the equivalent of powering 54 Late Late Shows (production lighting and air conditioning requirements).

Recent reforms of the Film and Tax Credit Section 481 now includes a requirement for all qualifying productions to have sustainable filmmaking solutions on set. In order to drive continual improvements in environmental performance, RTÉ has established a Green Broadcaster Advisory Group – a configuration of colleagues and external agencies (such as the EPA and SEAI) and external partners (such as Screen Producers Ireland). This helps to plan to the highest standards possible, and leverage external support or ratification where appropriate. Areas of focus include; waste management/prevention; energy consumption and carbon reduction, water conservation, biodiversity and pollution prevention.

RTÉ has also taken a leadership role in collaborating with relevant external stakeholders and peer broadcasters (such as TG4 and Virgin Media) to adopt the standards of Project Albert. Originally in operation in the UK, Albert is a collaborative BAFTA independent production and broadcaster- backed bespoke project that provides the film and TV industries with the necessary expertise and opportunities to take action on environmental sustainability. The project aim is to ensure screen content is made in ways that benefits individuals, industry organisations and the planet. Its core objectives are to reduce the environmental impact of the production process, and to enable industry organisations to realise the environmental aspect of their stated vision and its implication for audience engagement. As part of this initiative RTÉ has adopted the Albert carbon calculator and is currently identifying productions which can be measured and analysed with a view to reducing their environmental impact.

Since taking the carbon pledge, RTÉ is actively planning how it will meet its 2030 target to improve energy efficiency by 50% and deliver a 30% reduction in CO2.

Download our latest Low Carbon Pledge report

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