Power, lighting, ventilation and toilets!

Depending on your particular situation, you may or may not have direct control over some the areas detailed below. However even if you do not, you can still ask questions of those who do to encourage change.


Try to use natural light as much as possible, design your venues to make this easy.

Where appropriate, use LED or low energy lighting for stages, walkways, floodlighting etc.

If you cannot use LED lighting for your stage lights, make sure you use discharge lights which reduce consumption.

If you have a number of venues on one site, rationalise the power distribution to keep a balanced load on the national grid, reducing overall consumption.

Use local suppliers where possible for lighting – transporting lighting rigs as few miles as possible makes a big difference.

Use light sensors and timers to control the lighting of public areas but do make sure you have a manual override switch.

Make sure you switch off unnecessary lighting – make someone responsible for checking sites and venues.

Hay Festival Vanues


Ensure your natural ventilation is easy to regulate, venues can get hot and stuffy in the summer and air-conditioners are unsustainable.

Natural ventilation is made easier if you work with the laws of thermodynamics – ensure that you can open vents in the roof/upper walls and at ground/floor level, the hot air will naturally escape through the upper vents, pulling in cooler air from the lower ones.

If you know you are going to have hot venues, you could have your programme designed to be usable as a fan.

If you need to powered ventilation, consider using solar panels to provide the electricity.


Toilets are likely to be one of the main uses of water on your site/venue. If you are bringing toilets to site you can ensure you get what you want. Once again if you are using a venue which already has toilets as part of the infra-structure, ask the questions – are they dual/low flush, do they have water saving devices fitted, etc.

If you are bringing toilets to site look for options which recycle grey water.

If your Festival is occurring over several days it is likely that you will need to get the toilets emptied. If this is the case, try to maximise the holding tank capacity to reduce the number of times the waste tanker visits the site.

Ensure you know what is happening to your waste once it leaves site – get and keep the waste transfer notices.

If chemical toilets are the only option, use a bio-degradable product such as Elsan Green.


There are a number of low power needs that can be sourced from solar panels including mobile phone, i-pod and computer recharging points.

If you are dressing your venue with foliage and flowers, use living plants where possible and if you do use cut flowers, try to get as locally grown as possible however do be aware of the energy needed to hothouse flowers in this country.

If you are providing baby products as part of family friendly policies, source eco-friendly baby products for example wipes and nappies.

Related Links

Centre for Alternative Technology –
Carbon Trust –