Updated: Dec 17, 2020
With more artists becoming eco-aware it was only a matter of time before a fully-fledged eco studio became a reality.
Reducing carbon emissions is the surest way to prevent climate change. Switching to greener equipment, reducing energy consumption, reusing materials - will, in the medium term, save money. Innovation in this area is being led by recording studios.
Research carried out by researchers at Oxford University in 2009 and published in the Green Music Guide suggest recording studios can benefit particularly from renewable installations as they are energy intensive and high profile. Also, it is estimated they could make a 10% reduction of carbon dioxide emissions through efficiencies such as behaviour change and retro fitting. The Guide suggests a number of measures could be undertaken by recording studios:
Carry out an energy audit to give you a picture of your energy use and how to manage and improve it.
Turn equipment, heating and cooling off when you can.
Fit energy-efficient heating, cooling and ventilation systems.
Employ building service engineers to investgate heat recovery, heat pumps and absorption chillers.
Investigate whether your studio is suitable to fit solar thermal, photovoltaic, heat pumps or wind power.
Specify that clients comply with the studio's energy, recycling & waste management practices and policies.
Ensure studio engineers are aware of the studio's policy on equipment switch-off.
Create financial incentives to reduce energy consumption with clients. More accurate meter measurements would enable studios to factor energy consumption by equipment into the costs allocated or charged to the client.
The follwing recording studios located across the globe are leading the way in providing greener music-making.
In 2006, London's The Premises Studios built Europe's first solar-powered recording studio, a state-of-the-art facility with 100% secure and stable energy flow. Their decision was based on environmental concerns and solid business reasoning: to increase trade and reduce running costs.
To determine the system requirements, the Centre for Sustainable Energy conducted an energy audit, and the flat roof and photovoltaic (PV) system were added by Chelsfield Solar. The capital cost was £20,000, half of which was funded by a government grant.
Recording Studio A was built using a high level of recycled materials. Energy efficiency was built in: the main SSL mixing desk and air-conditioning units are low energy, and there is no need for heating due to the high level of sound insulation even in the middle of winter.
With acoustic design by Roger D’Arcy of Recording Architecture, the four integrated studio areas take up the entire top floor of one building. The studio comes with its own lounge/conservatory/roof terrace.
The UK Government's decision to incentivise renewable energy producers via 'feed-in tariffs' may mean The Premises could halve their payback period, initially calculated at ten years. After this, their PV system will turn into a profit stream from the excess energy they sell back to the grid.
The shift to solar has generated a higher public profile and new business. The Premises has worked on successful campaigns with Friends of the Earth and is now widely seen as a first-choice studio for environmentally aware recording artists including Lily Allen, Hot Chip, Bloc Party and the Klaxons.
Evergroove Studio is a recording studio in the mountains just west of Denver, Colorado in the US, offering a unique, retreat-like, experience.
It takes as many steps as possible to reduce its impact on Ma Earth:
Evergroove is one of few recording studios in the US to use “home grown” solar power generated on its roof.
Employing construction methods and techniques to reduce the use of electricity and natural gas.
Recycling paper, plastic, metals, and cardboard.
Using recycled materials whenever possible.
Working with local businesses and ecologically-committed companies.
Most of its equipment is pre-owned, recycling gear in turn to keep electronics and other environmental nasties out of landfills.
Working to create a healthy, balanced forest environment on its land.
Gorilla Solar Studio
Gorilla Solar Studio is a fully self-contained and off-grid solar-powered recording studio based in Melbourne, Australia.
Built in 2009 in a converted shipping container, the studio is powered by a trailer fitted with an array of solar panels, a wind generator and batteries.
The aim of the recording studio is to have close to zero environmental impact.
It was built mainly with recycled materials: a basketball court for the flooring and tables, a vintage BBC recording console and classic electronic music equipment for production. The studio is fully transportable.
The trailer provides around 1500 watts of power by storing energy harvested from the sun and wind into a large 24 volt battery set-up housed inside the trailer.
It is able to power the studio around five days a week. The trailer is also used to power the solar-powered sound system.
The Kong Solar Studio
As part of E.On's solar collaboration with Gorillaz, the utility company wanted to help rebuild Kong Studio with a modern and greener technology.
Gorillaz x E.ON’s Kong Solar Studio launched in June 2017 at the Demon Dayz Festival in Margate, UK.
A sun harvester by day and a music maker by night, this fully functioning recording studio built in a vintage trailer enabled new musicians, vocalists and beat makers to collaborate and create music using renewable energy, stored in batteries allowing music creation throughout the night.
It has since visited Munich and Budapest to create more solar powered music.
Grace Recording Studio
Located in Maui, Hawaii, the recording studio and entire facility uses photovoltaic solar panels, harnessing the sun’s energy to generate 100% of it’s own electricity. It is an eco friendly studio that cares about its environment.
The studio is equipped with an Equi=Tech Balanced Power System enabling it to keep the lowest noise floor possible. Artists who have recorded here include Carlos Santana, Metallica's James Hetfield, Kris Kristofferson and Britney Spears.
Blue Sky Recording Studio
Blue Sky Recording Studio Blue Mountains is an off grid solar powered recording studio located in a rural setting near Bullaburra, Sydney, Australia.
All the music recording process done at Blue Sky is carbon neutral.
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Solar-powered studios include
- Grace Recording Studio, Hawaii
- Gorilla Solar Studio, Melbounre, Australia
- Blue Sky Recording Studio, Blue Mountains, Australia
- Julie's Bicycle Green Music Guide
- Evergroove Studios, Denver, Colorado