Arcola Theatre in Hackney is one of the most respected arts venues in the UK, with a commitment to sustainability as well as creativity. Arcola’s aim is to be the first carbon neutral theatre in the world; it has a sustainability/education arm Green Arcola and a sister company, Arcola Energy, an energy technology incubator, both set up to deliver this ambition.
Over the last three years, Arcola, housed in a converted paint factory, has undergone a ‘green’ transformation, including the installation of a waste wood biomass boiler, natural ventilation system and an innovative LED lighting system, powered by solar photovoltaics. The building also boasts impressive water-saving credentials thanks to Roca’s innovative W+W (water closet and washbasin) product.
Funded by a £1 million grant from the Arts Council, plus additional support from donations and local volunteers, main renovation works took place in 2012, with Roca’s W+W installed last summer.
Slashing water usage by half Roca’s W+W utilises waste water from the basin to fill the cistern, saving up to 25% more water in a typical household compared with dual-flush systems. Arcola has been monitoring water usage since 2010 and, following W+W’s installation, the savings have been dramatic – spring 2013’s figures are 50% lower than the previous year.
Making W+W work even harder is the Singles-Pro basin mixer, which features Roca’s innovative Cold Start system, designed to help save both water and energy. The progressive cartridge means the tap turns on with cold water first, drawing on the hot supply only as and when it’s required.
Ruth Mulandi, Arcola’s Commercial Manager, commented: “When we researched water-efficient toilets, Roca’s offering just made good sense. We loved the design of their products and now they’re in situ, visitors find them so intuitive to use.”
In addition to saving water, W+W saves space, with the wash basin housed on top of the cistern. It’s modern, L shaped design, fits snugly into the restricted area of Arcola’s toilet cubicle.
Education in the toilet! Part of Arcola’s remit is to inspire the community to live sustainably. Education is key and Roca’s W+W surprisingly assists in this element too. At a recent ‘Green Sunday’ event, a toilet cubicle, complete with the Roca W+W, played host to a performance of ‘Flush’, from Cape Theatre; an innovative piece set in the women’s loos that helps explain the very serious problem of water wastage.
Arcola Theatre stands as an example of how an arts venue can do more than just entertain, promoting a greener way to live to its audiences and the wider community. Roca’s part in this project demonstrates the company’s own remit to make sure our most relied upon conveniences are innovative, functional and above all, sustainable.