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energy conservation for theatres 14 Sep 2007 13:06 #16017

  • Mike
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Aside from Global Warming, energy costs keep going up. It used to cost me 23.00 to fill up and drive to my 150 mile away theatre. It now costs 67.00 , oil and electricity have followed suit.

We have a done a number of things: putting in compact fluor wherever possible. But there is not much more we have been able to identify. Can you suggest anything?

Michael Hurley
Michael Hurley
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Re: energy conservation for theatres 14 Sep 2007 14:58 #16018

  • leeler
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I just did the compact flourescent bulb refit and now I'm wondering what else I could do. how about a water heater blanket? extra weatherstripping? programmable thermostats? timers for lights, etc?

Any other ideas?
"What a crazy business"
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Re: energy conservation for theatres 14 Sep 2007 16:48 #16019

I don't know about anywhere else, but around here, the power company is always eager to come out and do a free energy conservation audit. They would be able to point out improvements quickly.

Also consider converting stuff to LED, like signage, small lights, aisle lights, etc. They use a fraction of the energy compared to incandescent and fluorescent.

If you have any outlets on your outermost walls, they make very cheap foam gaskets that you can install behind your outlet covers to stop air penetration from the outside. It's amazing at how much energy can be lost through outlets.

And don't forget low-E windows.
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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Re: energy conservation for theatres 15 Sep 2007 02:50 #16020

  • rodeojack
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Our reader board burns quite a bit of juice, and there's no easy way to lower its hourly burn rate without diminishing its effect... at least as far as I can see.

One thing I DID do was to put a timer in that keeps the back board from lighting until it gets dark enough to need the lights. It has an electric eye on it that allows the turn-on time to be based on time AND ambient light. The timer turns off the lights after we close the boxoffice. The automatic delay cut my sign costs in half. We were able to determine this because our board is on its own electric service.

If you have a marquee with chaser lights and/or neon around the reader board, you could run the motion lights and put a timer like this on the reader board.
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Re: energy conservation for theatres 15 Sep 2007 17:59 #16021

  • muviebuf
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For older auditoriums with high ceilings the best thing you can do is ceiling fans. The trick is to locate them in an unobtrusive way.
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Re: energy conservation for theatres 17 Sep 2007 12:53 #16022


We are very interested in designing cinemas that conserve energy, water and are sustainable. The comments about equipment timers, lighting sources in this very important forum are excellent. Here are several ideas that come to mind in no particular order.


Seal all air leakage paths;
Insulate domestic hot water tanks and accessible distribution piping.
Use lower lobby and auditorium ceilings (where permitted by screen size) in order to reduce the amount of air to be conditioned.

Water Conservation

Use automated plumbing fixtures that dispense water when sensing a human presence
These fixtures are also more sanitary than regular plumbing fixtures
Replace defective faucets with washerless ones;


Locate cooled supply air outlets close to the floor instead of from the ceiling;
Replace all electric hand dryers with paper towel dispensers which are also more sanitary;
Use LED and compact fluorescent lighting fixtures wherever possible in lieu of incandescent fixtures;

Investigate using solar energy systems which can be used for water heating, generating electricity and heating.

Where lobbies have large window areas facing south, these window should be provided with sun shading devices to reduce solar heat gain.

Green Roofs

For new buildings, green roofs offer an excellent way to reduce heat gain and loss via the roof. See Green roofs also protect the roofing membrane from solar degradation.


Ask for higher insulation levels in walls and roof when signing leases in order to reduce heating and air conditioning capital and operating costs.
When replacing a flat roof, significantly increase the insulation in consultation with a mechanical engineer;


Replace grass with native plants that require no mowing, pesticides or fertilizer. Besides, there are hundreds of native plants that require much less water than grass.


While solar energy and green roofs are uncommon in North America due to relatively cheap energy, these features are common in Europe. Energy conservation is a key issue not just for cinemas but for all buildings.

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Re: energy conservation for theatres 19 Sep 2007 21:51 #16023

  • rdetzler
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Since many of us here operate old theaters (mine is 92 years) just a note on insulation. Do NOT improve your ceiling insulation without consulting an engineer. Many older roofs depend on the heat from inside to clear snow load. You will trade that savings in heat for a new roof and interior if your not careful.

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