We’re the most sustainable building in Colchester Town Centre!
From the initial concept and designs back in 2016, together with our partners Colchester Borough Council and Colchester Borough Homes, we have made every effort to ensure that our new building is as environmentally friendly as possible.
We are committed to supporting the ambitions of the landmark Paris Agreement of December 2015, to limit global temperature rises to below 2C against pre-industrial levels. We are also committed to working in partnership with Colchester Borough Council to implement their Climate Emergency Action Plan (January 2020) and help to build on their successes to ensure that Colchester leads the way in environmental standards for residents and visitors alike.
Our policy is to maintain a working environment that, where reasonably possible, strives to promote energy efficiency, recycling of waste materials and the use of recycled products in the pursuit of creating an economic, efficient and environmentally friendly workplace. We will strive to not only comply with all relevant environmental legislation, regulations and requirements but where we can exceed these requirements.
Through our actions and our artistic programme, we create awareness, understanding and a positive approach to environmental sustainability, recognising the global significance of this issue and the social justice implications of addressing climate change.
The Mercury seeks to be a sector leader in communication around climate change, with a view to influencing practice among industry peers, partners, staff, audiences, participants, practitioners and its supply chain.
Things you might not know!
Trying to ensure any building within Colchester is environmentally friendly is not an easy task given the listed and historical nature of a large majority of the buildings and the sensitive archaeological material beneath our feet!
Our old building was built in 1972 with no environmental measures at all – not even double glazing! The heating and lighting systems were either on or off, with little or no method of temperature control.
However, we’ve done our best…
- We have converted the majority (70%) of our building lighting to LED, which is on a timer system to ensure efficient use. Sadly, we cannot reach 100% as the technology to support theatrical lighting is still being developed. We will (of course) aim to install any new equipment as soon as it becomes available.
- We have worked with our contractor to ensure that all materials used during the build have been sustainably sourced, with waste recycled and all use of fuel and water monitored throughout the process.
- We have been awarded a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ certificate putting us in the top 25% of non-domestic buildings in the UK and recognising the Mercury as a model of best practice nationally.
- We source all our electricity from a 100% renewable supply –Ecotricity
- We have extended the solar panels on our roof and can now generate 67.5kW, and there are times during the day that we generate green energy back into the grid.
- We have new high-performance cavity insulated walls and double glazing throughout the site to ensure high levels of thermal efficiency.
- We have new plant, boilers and ventilation systems that meet the latest standards of energy efficiency.
- We have a new Building Management System that monitors energy usage throughout the building, only using power when a space is being used.
- We operate a zero waste to landfill policy. All waste on site is sent for recycling in partnership with our waste carrier CSH.
- We operate ‘paperless’ systems which significantly reduces the amount of paper we would otherwise use.
- Where possible, we source all our materials locally: Of the £11.3 million spent on the building, we spent £10 million in the local economy, with local suppliers. The only exception to this is when we need to purchase specific items from specialist theatrical suppliers.
- We will seek to source all fresh produce from local suppliers in our new café/bar in order to reduce food miles.
- All food waste will be carefully monitored and composted in our gardens to the rear of the theatre.
- We have introduced reusable plastic glasses for audiences to take into our theatres and use glass at non-performance times. This will include a new ‘Bring your own cup policy’ for drinks and a free refill water station.
- We encourage our audiences, where possible, to use public transport or where this is not possible, to carshare.
- We have installed flow controls on all toilets and wash basins to reduce consumption and wastage.
- We have employed an Ecologist to advise us on the local biodiversity. We have installed nests on our roof as a ‘sanctuary’ for birds (for example, the falcons living in Jumbo), we have a bat hotel in our garden and will be further developing our back garden to encourage local wildlife.
- We will be reinstating the trees that were removed at the front of the building at the start of the build with more appropriate varieties, whose roots will not cause damage to paving and create a hazard to pedestrians.
- We continue to monitor local air quality through our emissions.
- We have ensured that the building is insulated as far as possible to avoid unnecessary noise bleed to disturb our neighbours.
- We are committed to replacing our vehicles to be electric in the near future and are raising funds to allow us to do that.
- We are working towards all our sets, props and costumes that you see on stage to use sustainable materials and are recycled or stored for future use.
As an organisation, all of our staff and Board Members are committed to understanding, measuring, improving and communicating our environmental performance.
Our environmental ambitions are formally agreed and adopted by our Board as a formal policy objective of the organisation. We have a Sustainability Action Group, made up of staff from across the organisation, that meets regularly to monitor and improve our work in this area.
We welcome you to contact us with thoughts and ideas that you might have about this aspect of our work. Together we can make a difference for Colchester and the planet.