How We Became the First Carbon Neutral Film Studio

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon brings world leaders together to assess global warming. Wind power starts to trump oil on price. Rain returns to drought-hit California, from Los Angeles to San Francisco. It’s no question we have an eye on these headlines. We’re concerned about the future of our world. Moving through the world without negatively impacting its environment is key to sustainability. Use less energy. Recycle more materials. Bike to work. At Vancouver Film Studios, we work diligently to maintain our green business. In 2008 we became the first carbon-neutral film studio in Canada. Today we continue to find new ways to do even more. Our efforts include green upgrades, better processes and comprehensive recycling programs.

How did we become Canada’s first carbon-neutral film and television studio? Here are ten green initiatives that helped our business become an eco-conscious and self-sustaining enterprise…

  1. 40 yard roll-off bin provides a better solution for facility-wide cardboard recycling. By having a larger bin, the truck driver visits less times per week. This helps reduce fuel consumption.
  2. Automatic flushers not only support cleaner washrooms, they help Vancouver Film Studios use less water. Flushers provide efficient management of washroom water requirements.
  3. Energy efficient LED lights, lightbulb recycling and light switch sensors provide a complete energy efficient solution for lighting Vancouver Film Studio washrooms, offices and stages.
  4. Community garden gets more hands in the dirt and puts more local food on our tables. Since 2012, four raised garden beds have helped grow good things for our community.
  5. Composting turns organic matter into a sustainable solution for our gardens. 68 gallon toters and 2- and 3-yard bins encourage everyone not to toss out day-old craft services creations.
  6. Catch basin sediment traps capture sediment, debris, oil and grease at storm water catch basins. Catch basin markings warn productions not to dump anything harmful down our catch basins. This helps us protect the natural Still Creek habitat that runs through our lot.
  7. Recycling centre is made possible by our partnership with Keep It Green Recycling. Recycling stations are set up throughout offices and sound stages to encourage productions to recycle plastic, metal, glass, tin, batteries, CFL and LED light bulbs, and ink cartridges.
  8. Cigarette recycling raises money for our favourite charities. For every pound of cigarettes our maintenance workers collect, TerraCycle donates $1 to a designated charity. Waste is turned into plastic pallets for industrial use. Remaining organic matter is composted.
  9. Electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to encourage electric vehicle use, rather than other forms of transportation. VFS plans to install two to four EV stations by the end of 2015.
  10. Carbon offsets are purchased to mitigate any remaining greenhouse gases or carbon dioxide made by transportation, energy consumption or other sources of emissions.

These are just some of the ways we create a greener, more eco-responsible business every day on the lot. We were the first carbon-neutral film studio in Canada, and we hope we’re not the last. We want these practices to be adopted by all film and TV studio production facilities. We want to be inspired by what they’re doing. We want to be inspired by what you’re doing, too.

Discover our Still Creek habitat project with City of Vancouver. Let’s talk about how we can support your film or television production with the greenest studio practices in the business.