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Sustainability focus at IBC

Sustainability and green issues may have been pushed down the headlines by economic turmoil, riots and political unrest, but in the broadcasting world their stock continues to rise. This will be reflected at IBC 2011 next month, with one of the conference sessions there entitled "Sustainability — Getting Carbon Under Control and Increasing Profits."

The inclusion of increasing profits in the title is significant, highlighting the conviction that, in broadcasting especially, cutting waste and reducing power consumption are synonymous with cutting costs. They can also generate good publicity, at least according to Sky, whose director of broadcast services, Troy Smith, will presumably describe the green credentials of its huge futuristic London studio that started broadcasting in July 2011. Originally called Harlequin 1, Sky described the building as a factory where programmes can be made, edited and broadcast all under a single roof. It has eight flexible studios, with the ability like some theatres to be reworked. It was also designed with energy efficiency in mind, gaining high ratings for energy conservation. It has naturally ventilated office space saving on air conditioning power and a biomass-fuelled system to generate the energy that is required for heating and cooling. Furthermore, about 90 percent of the power required for lighting is developed by an on-site wind turbine.

The only problem is that to most people the building is rather ugly externally, suggesting that greenness and beauty may be incompatible. But inside, the building has gained much praise from the people who work there, at least for providing an agreeable and exciting environment. The conflicts between design, aesthetics and sustainability will be discussed during the IBC conference and perhaps around the floor unless all delegates are totally obsessed with TV Anywhere.