Friday, June 26, 2009

Mo'Olelo: Green Guidelines!

Seema Sueko from Mo'Olelo Performing Arts Company recently checked in about the progress of Mo'Olelo's Aha! project: the Green Theater Choices Toolkit Scorecard. If it all looks a little technical, don't worry, she enlisted the help of Eric Wilmanns of Brown & Wilmanns Environmental to help out with some handy definitions.

We have a proto-type for the Green Theater Choices Toolkit Scorecard!

Alright, so what is all this stuff? We worked with our Scenic Designer David F. Weiner and the consultants from Brown & Wilmanns Environmental Consulting to evaluate a variety of materials used in scenic design and rate them according to three focus areas: Material, Human Health and End of Show Fate. The above proto-type is just a look at woods. We'll be creating scorecards for metals, foams & plastics, textiles, and a few other areas. This woods scorecard is also not quite done. We're working on making it more user-friendly for designers. I asked Eric Wilmanns of B&W to provide us with some definitions for each of the focus areas. Here's what he shared:


This is an overview of how the material fairs when you consider its total life-cycle impacts. We take into account the conditions and environmental impacts associated with obtaining the basic raw materials, e.g. oil and natural gas, forest management and harvesting, mining, agricultural production etc. We also consider human social issues that effect the production of raw materials, manufacturing, use and end-of-life on affected communities and cultures. We consider the relative amount of energy required for obtaining and manufacturing the product as well as associated green house gas considerations. Note that many of these factors and indicators we rank by qualitative vs. quantitative means. So we might not have absolute numbers for each material in each category – but where we do have numbers we use them.

Human Health

For this focus we look specifically at the human health effects of the manufacture and use of a given material. We consider both acute and chronic health concerns and also if materials or compounds used in the life cycle of the product are carcinogenic or may cause reproductive effects or mimic hormones in the human body (endocrine disruptors). This may sound super science focused and to a large degree we try to do just that. We give more weight to a compound that has issues that can affect the end user but we also look up and downstream in the products life to see if workers are affected there too.

End of Show Fate

We typically call this parameter “end-of-life” but end of show seems more relevant for this project. Here we address the potential for reuse, recycle and reclamation and the potential impacts associated with reuse and/or recycling, land filling and/or incineration.

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