Sustainability is at the core of everything that Siamsa Tíre does, from sustaining our cultural artistic traditions, architectural heritage, and sense of community through to the impact that we make environmentally on our environment and the planet.
Whether through our carbon footprint, our impact on the world’s rich biodiversity, or the pollution of air, soil and water, we leave our mark. Reflecting a growing desire to protect what is precious for future generations, Siamsa Tíre continues its efforts to Green, aiming to reduce our impact on the environment and create a more sustainable future. Find out about our certification as Ireland’s first Green certified theatre and the award we were thrilled to receive from Julie’s Bicycle.
As we develop policies across waste and water management, biodiversity, transport and travel, and procurement, we will keep you updated along the way and hope that you can be part of the journey!
It seems as if everything we do has an impact on our environment and it’s not only humans who feel the effects! All of our environmental policies impact on Biodiversity, and we hope that by mitigating our impacts across all areas, we will help to sustain biodiversity. In addition, we are undertaking a number of specific actions which will support biodiversity around our building. See below for some details of our Biodiversity Policy.
If you look through the glass doors of the gallery spaces into the courtyard, you will see our planted box which contains tomato plants, lettuce, chives, and other pollinator friendly plants (cosmos and borage). This was planted using compost from our kitchen compost.
Our Biodiversity Area, adjacent to the Siamsa Tíre carpark and courtesy of permission from Kerry County Council, contains three specially built bird boxes made by local artist, Nik Taylor. You can read more about how he made these and the thinking behind the boxes. This project is the completion of our Percent For Art scheme as part of recent funding for energy upgrades from the Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht (along with funding from the SEAI).
At a biodiversity workshop (delivered by Niamh Ní Dhúill) in the grounds around Siamsa in May of 2018, local plant recorder, Jessica Hamilton (The Kerry Branch of the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland) generously completed a plant list for us. She returned to deliver a further workshop during Biodivesity Week in May 2019 and provided us with an updated Plant List which recorded an additional three species – Plant List 2019.
As part of our Biodiversity Policy we have agreed the following:
- No herbicides to be used on the grounds around the building
- Grass will not be cut before the middle of April at earliest to assist pollinators
- We will keep grounds as free of litter as possible
- We will manage an area (adjacent to the Carpark) so as to maximise biodiversity (cut only a path through the grass).
- We will plant pollinator friendly fruit trees
- We will minimise any use of chemicals throughout the building
- We will host workshops and talks on the theme of biodiversity
- Install bird boxes where appropriate
- Compost all organic waste
- We will use large planters rather than hanging baskets and plant perennial pollinator friendly plants
Energy usage is one of the principal contributors to Climate Change. At Siamsa Tíre, with funding from the SEAI (under the Better Energy Communities initiative) and from the Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, we recently undertook a number of energy upgrades to reduce our carbon footprint.
We undertook the following:
- Replaced our oil-fired heating system with an Air to Heat Pump system
- Replaced all of the building lighting with LED lights
- Installed insulation in sections of the building where it was possible
- Installed 40 photovoltaic panels on the roof of the building
Additionally, we have increased the draft proofing around doors, replaced door glass with double glazing, and replaced some of the stage lighting with LED stage lights. All members of the staff team are very conscious of minimising usage and behaviours have changed to support this (turning off lights and machinery when not in use). Our electricity supplier is SE Airtricity, and they supply us with electricy which is sourced from 100% renewable sources.
Over the coming years we aim to do the following:
- Improve the insulation and draft proofing of the building
- Invest in additional LED stage lighting
- Replace all equipment with A rated appliances
- Identify other energy saving measures which would reduce our carbon footprint further
- Replace external lighting with LED fittings
We would like to thank the following for their support: Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), the Department of Culture, Heritage & The Gaeltacht, SE Systems, Kerry Sustainable Energy Co-operative Ltd (KSEC), Transition Kerry, Tralee Tidy Towns and Kerry County Council.
As part of our Greening initiative, we aim to create a Green Procurement Policy, working with our suppliers to purchase products and services that cause minimal adverse environmental impacts. This policy will be uploaded once complete.
It is very important to us at Siamsa Tíre that everyone can play a role in the Greening Siamsa initiative. The staff team has undergone a certain amount of training on energy efficiency as well as waste management and understanding Climate Change.
Members of the staff team were invited to join individual teams across the following areas: Energy, Waste Management, Biodiversity, Procurement, Communication and Transport and Travel. All of those available during the day have joined at least one team and each team is led by the first person to sign up to that team. We aim to meet on a regular basis and establish goals for each area so that environmental sustainability becomes part of everything we do. We hope to rise to the challenge.
Local Green Businesses
We want to recognise other local businesses who are aiming to reduce their environmental impact. We’ve selected a few that we know well, but if you are a local business with a ‘Green Twist’, do contact us and we’ll do our best to include you on the list!
Other organisations working locally which might be of interest…
Transport and Travel
Our first action in addressing the impact of transport and travel on Siamsa Tíre’s carbon footprint is to gather information. Throughout 2018 and early 2019, we gathered information from our customers, both local and international, about the ways in which they travel to visit us, how far they travel, and with whom they travel.
We also gathered in-depth information from our staff team which will helped us to identify ways in which the impacts of work-related travel can be mitigated.
Using this information, we aim to develop policies on ways in which we can assist our customers and staff to minimise their carbon footprint. We will be looking at the following strategies:
- Remote working for staff members – this has been aided by the pandemic where all core staff worked remotely and continue a hybrid model now that business has returned to normal
- Car pooling initiatives for patrons
- Secure bike parking facilities at the staff entrance and for visitors longer term
- Electric car charging points in the staff carpark
- Virtual online meetings facilitated through Teams, Zoom and Google
If you have any thoughts on ways in which we could address transport and travel impacts, we would be very pleased to hear from you! You can email us at generalmanager (at) siamsatire.com
Waste & Water Management
As part of our Waste Policy, we aimed to recycle a minimum of 30% of our waste in 2018. With a lot of work by the staff team, particularly those who keep the building in top shape (Anne Slattery, Tina Sugrue and Trish Goodall), the reduction of waste to landfill was almost 50% in 2018 when compared with 2017.
We continue to work towards a long-term aim of zero waste to landfill by 2022/extended to 2023 with pandemic interrupion. Recycling bins are now available throughout much of the building and this will be extended in 2019. Our principle approach to waste will focus on REDUCING the amount of waste we produce, followed by REUSING and then RECYCLING. Siamsa Tíre is also delighted to be a member of the GLAN initiative.
As part of our Waste Management policies, we have reduced the amount of overall waste we create using the following measures:
- Sharing documents electronically, ie issue contracts, distribute meeting minutes and wage slips via email.
- Avoid completely one-use plastics (eg. replace plastic straws with paper straws)
- Replace sugar sachets with sugar pourers and cubes
- Obtain our milk in glass bottles from Ballymac Milk
- Encourage the use of Keep Cups and Bottles within the staff team and by visitors
- Reuse paper, print both sides, avoid printing where possible
- Minimise printed publicity material
- Compost all organic waste and use this to grow vegetables and herbs in our courtyard
- Use tea leaves rather than tea bags in the staff kitchen
- Use only glass bottles in the Bar (30% are re-used, 70% recycled)
- Encourage staff and visitors to use water fountains
- Work with incoming companies inviting them to get involved in our waste reduction strategies
We also aim to reduce the amount of water which is wasted and we are currently gathering information on our usage patterns. In the interim, we have made the following small changes:
- We have replaced our hanging baskets with large tubs which require much less watering
- We have installed a water butt in our courtyard. During the hot summer of 2018, this was sufficient to water our flower tubs and our raised vegetable bed
- We saved water from the sink (without detergent) for use on plants and shrubs during the hot weather