Energy Source

Emissions from lighting are driven largely by the type of fuel used to power your equipment, combined with the efficiency of the units.

An important step is to determine whether it is possible to switch to renewable energy, if you haven’t already.

  • Where does your facility get its power? Many power companies offer the option of choosing a more renewable source.
  • The EPA provides resources and links to renewable energy sources in every state.
  • Contact your energy provider and ask for the renewable option. Ask if there is a discount or incentive for non-profits.

Energy Usage

  • Heating and cooling
    • Reduce temperature for unoccupied hours
    • Lower thermostat for storage areas
    • Install insulation on walls, roofs, windows
      • This could be a way to recycle stage scenery!
  • Non-stage lighting
    • Reduce hours of operation
    • Switch to energy-efficient bulbs
    • Timer switches, motion sensors
  •  Designing stage lighting
    • Recommendations by White Light Green Guide
    • Older stock equipment vs. newer efficient rentals
    • What is the purpose of every instrument?
  • When do they have to be turned on?


Experimentation: LEDs

  • Transitioning to LED instruments will bring down energy costs by 80% or more. This reflects energy savings for the instruments themselves and lowered cooling costs.
  • While they cost more per unit than halogen instruments, they pay for themselves within as little as 5 years because of lowered costs of maintenance, dimmer power, and expendable gel.
  • With LEDs you can have fewer lights in the air. For example: You don’t need to hang separate ‘warm’ and ‘cool’ front-light systems because they come from the color-changing instrument.
  • For information on advantages of LEDs over halogen fixtures, see:
  • Test out an LED instrument. LED manufacturers are happy to facilitate this and will often ship equipment for free.
  • Build confidence with the designers and electricians at your venue before you make an investment.


Consider replacing your conventional fixtures with LEDs in the order recommended by Curtis Kasefang of Theater Consultants Collaborative:

  1. Rehearsal room lighting
  2. House lights: this is probably your most used system in the theatre, and sometimes the easiest to change.
  3. Work lights: used often and for long periods, least expensive and easiest to replace
  4. Cyc lights: most wasteful, often used, high energy usage
  5. Wash instruments: Pars, Fresnels
  6. Ellipsoidals: can be replaced in stages by system
    • a. Replace one angle of light at a time (front, side, back, down, specials)
Lighting Designer Alan C. Edwards