Industry starting to walk the talk

It’s not easy being green, especially for studios that go through tons of wood, fuel and airline miles every year.

But after years of talking about how to make their projects and studios more eco-friendly, studios are increasingly taking responsibility to make sure that once they start to clean up their acts, they stay clean, in several cases naming a designated green queen like NBC Universal’s Shannon Schaefer, manager of sustainable productions.

Among the recent efforts to control the amount of waste and pollution generated by film and TV production:

  • Paramount has begun the first phase of construction of a chilled water plant that utilizes 50% less energy than the traditional system.

  • Sony has installed solar panels on the roof of the Jimmy Stewart building and constructed two new buildings that meet standards of the U.S. Green Building Council. John Rego, the studio’s director of sustainability, says that right now the solar panels account for about 1 percent of the lot’s energy and that like Paramount, they have also started utilizing a chilled water plant and provide eco-point people for each production.

  • For New Line’s “Valentines Day,” Warner Bros. made sure eco-friendly practices were maintained, including the construction of a “hybrid” base camp with solar-powered and biodiesel-fuel generators, and uses alternative fuel sources in its transportation department. Jon Romano is the studio’s sustainable production manager.

  • On “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief,” Fox re-used the sets and materials used on prior films and disassembled them afterwards to further recycle. “Percy” was the fourth Fox pic to practice such recycling.

  • Disney is allocating a portion of every ticket sold to “Oceans” to establish new marine protected areas in the Bahamas and protect coral reefs.

Universal’s Schaefer, who also launched the EcoSet Consulting company, has traveled with productions to make location shoots remain sustainable.

Several studios are working to make sure food waste is composted.

Numbers show the efforts may be starting to pay off. According to the Solid Waste Task Force, the major movie studios have diverted 66% (more than 40 million pounds) of their studio sets and other forms of waste from landfills in the last year.

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