Environmental Impact Of A Night Out

The fun we have on a night out has an incredible impact on the environment. One standout item surprised us and we think you’ll be gobsmacked too.

From what we could see, the actual venue itself doesn’t have a really huge carbon footprint. We couldn’t find data to say exactly how much CO2 equipment accounts for, but we could get a few different sources for beer which for even a single pint is well over the venue’s footprint for the whole year. 

We found it incredibly sobering that just a single bottled beer was worth about the same CO2 as a journey one way by car. 

Results

Venue8.3kg
Equipment0
5 imported bottles of beer4.5kg
Journey to and from the club by taxi1.84kg
Total14.6kg

Beer

The carbon footprint of beer is different depending on what you choose to drink. The Guardian took a look at it and provided some stats about beer we’ll use for this analysis.

300g CO2e: locally brewed cask ale at the pub 
500g CO2e: local bottled beer from a shop or foreign beer in a pub 
900g CO2e: bottled beer from the shop, extensively transported

We use a bottled beer from the shop to represent what most people might drink on a night out. Bottles of Corona or Peroni or Stella Artois are what we took as some of the most common beers to be found in clubs and bars.

Refrigeration needs of vottled beer have been taken into consideration with running a business. It’s probably impossible – though we’re sure there must be an exception around somewhre – to find a cask ale on tap in a nightclub. That’s just not the right scene for it.

Strong beers and ales have a lower carbon footprint than beers often found on tap and popular in nightclubs. The reason is, they don’t need to be kept cold and in a nightclub, you really want a cold beer, not room temperature.

It also seems to be the case that drinking wine could make for a lower carbon club night if the place you go to party uses boxed wine instead of glass bottles. 

The Venue

At the nightclub, aside from fog machines which use CO2, how much carbon would the average night out produce?

There doesn’t seem to be any research into the carbon footprint of nightclubs, so we got creative and looked at the CO2 produced by an office

Apparently, we could expect to use 301 tonnes of CO2 over the course of a year. That’s as a business providing musaneous other services. We accounted for currency differences with an estimated turnover. The calculated accounts for air conditioning use and having it at the level of an office isn’t too unreasonable since most clubs don’t seem to use have it turned up anyway.

The fog machines we mentioned are said to put out as much CO2 as petrol, where one Kg of CO2 would be equivalent to one kg of petrol. However, the carbon would have been grabbed from the atmosphere anyway, not released from a place it was stored.

Audio

Again, there isn’ta great deal of information about the carbon footprint of audio speakers. There will be carbon used in the manufacture and transportation, but they generally last for a very long time, as as long as prolonged use does not use a lot of energy, this would give the audio equipment a very green carbon footprint.

Lights

Lighting nowadays is LED based which saves both carbon and heat emissions meaning less air conditioning use (if the nightclub was even using it in the first place). 

The Ride Home

Getting to and then home from the event is a carbon footprint you can consider and of course reduce. We don’t imagine too many people driving home after several pints, but a group may car pool with a designated driver, or have someone pick them all up. Both would reduce carbon emissions since they’re sharing a vehicle.

We used a carbon calculator that looks at emissions from different transportation types as part of its calculation. It also allows you to specify exact locations

Looking at a 5 mile commute, we we got 0.92kg for a car and 0.36kgCO2 for using a train. 

A night out is fun and doesn’t need to cost the Earth. Maybe one reason for the lack of data around specific parts of going clubbing was because the renewable energy sector doesn’t want to destroy our fun. I’m sure taking people their weekly release was killing the planet would kill any enthusiasm they had for reducing carbon emissions everywhere else. Either that or looking at the carbon footprint of things like audio equipment isn’t sexy.

But wait, there is also the possibility of carbon neutral beer. The beer was created by a team of phd students at Imperial College London, looking into every aspect of making beer to make their calculations and guarantee a totally carbon neutral brew. If we could get a product like this into nightclubs and even bottled locally, we could significantly reduce the carbon footprint of our nights out.

For now, it would be better to go to local establishments that serve local cask ales and if you do need transport, get the train. Let’s see if we can start getting some carbon neutral nights out set up.