Traffic disruptions - Canada Day weekend

Environmental Sustainability at the NAC

Former Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna and Christopher Deacon, President and CEO of the National Arts Centre, unveiling the NAC’s compost program on May 9, 2019. © Fred Cattroll
Former Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna and Christopher Deacon, President and CEO of the National Arts Centre, unveiling the NAC’s compost program on May 9, 2019. © Fred Cattroll

The NAC is one of North America’s largest multidisciplinary performing arts centres with more than a million visitors and 1,400 events and performances in a normal year. We are committed to minimizing our environmental footprint and to playing a positive role in our community. 

Here are some highlights of our accomplishments so far:

  • The NAC has reduced its annual greenhouse gas emissions since 2017-2018 by 28% – representing about 1,176 tons of CO2 – thanks to energy management efficiencies. Emissions will be further reduced over the coming years as more building upgrades are implemented and the National Capital Region District Energy System, that provides heating and cooling to the NAC, is modernized. 
  • We are using plant-based compostable cups and cutlery to divert one million plastic food and drink containers from the landfill annually. The containers (e.g. wine and beer glasses, coffee cups, plates, utensils, straws, and take-out boxes) are transformed – thanks to a process developed with the help of public and private partners – into rich compost that is being put back into the NAC rooftop herb gardens.
  • We are using outside air to cool our building and using more efficient variable frequency drives instead of wasting energy by continuously running ventilation systems.
  • We have upgraded more than 80% of lighting at the Centre to state-of-the-art technologies such as LEDs. So far, we’ve replaced 1,971 lamps resulting in the following materials being diverted from the landfill: 234.7 kg of glass, 25 kg of plastics, 10.50 kg of metals, and smaller amounts of phosphor, porcelain and mercury.
  • Replacing exterior doors with more energy-efficient models, reducing the heating and cooling needs and eliminating the buildup of ice on the doors in the winter.
  • Releasing the results of NAC English Theatre’s two-year research initiative The Cycle: The Earth is Watching... Let’s Act, which grapples with how artists and arts institutions can rethink their practice and programming to develop work that promotes sustainable values and invests in the future of our planet.
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