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Film City’s energetic approach to green issues

Film City Glasgow

Film City Glasgow is the heart and soul of Scotland’s film and television industry. Based at Govan Town Hall, it includes production office space, studio/build space, workshop areas, rehearsal/meeting rooms and a café, and is home to more than 25 permanent tenants from the screen and wider creative industries.

Faced with ever-increasing bills for its energy use, Film City Glasgow’s proactive response was to create a Programme for Sustainability, as Tiernan Kelly, Director, explains.


In 2012, having calculated that our projected spend on utilities in the next ten years would reach the millions, we decided to don our green thinking caps.

The ideas generated evolved into our pioneering Programme for Sustainability (PFS) which aims to show production companies that by making small changes in the way they run their premises, they can save money, conserve energy and reduce emissions.

We started by educating our tenants about sustainability, showing how being more energy efficient by making conscious choices to recycle more and use less energy affects the environment.

Representatives from each office attend quarterly ‘green’ meetings, reporting back to their staff and keeping them updated about changes in the building and in legislation. Their role is vital to the success of the PFS.

We underwent a thorough research process; developing partnerships with like-minded businesses, undergoing building audits from Glasgow City Council and having consultations with specialists like Carbon Trust.

A thermal image from an energy audit of the Film City facility

To make a real impact on our utilities spend we needed some serious capital funds to improve the fabric of the building. We partnered with GCC’s Energy Management unit and Creative Scotland awarded us funds to deliver Project for Sustainability.

We also needed to change the culture of our building users.

A first step was to remove the bins and waste paper baskets from each office and replace them with FCG branded recycling bins. We created posters with instructions on recycling to emphasise the importance of being ‘green’.

Since swapping the bins we have been able to reduce our collections of general waste and increase our recycling collections.

The existing retro-fit system on our main hall was not energy efficient or powerful enough to heat the space effectively. After extensive feasibility studies, we replaced the existing system with radiant heating which will save money and reduce gas usage.

We also insulated the loft-space and boiler room pipes, draft-excluded various doors and windows and hung insulating lined curtains in the main hall foyer to reduce heat loss.

Lighting throughout the building was also changed over to energy saving bulbs.

Our ‘Outpost’ office was given a complete refurbishment, with Kingspan insulated walls, a lowered ceiling, new lighting and electric heating. This improved workspace is now highly sought after by building tenants and visitors.

Each day, we record the amount of general waste and mixed recycling bags disposed of. Successes, hints and tips and changes in legislation are reported via our newsletter “Green bit” and the Green Notice Board.

Duty Managers monitor if tenants leave on lights, computers and other appliances and mark this on the tenant ‘Star Chart’ with prizes awarded to the ‘greenest’ tenants.

And our efforts have not gone unrecognised. We’ve won a host of awards including Green Champion at the Glasgow Business Awards, a Good Practice award from Vibes (Vision in Business for The Environment in Scotland) and a Gold Award at the Glasgow City Council Environmental Business Awards.

As part of our wider activity, we also created a guide to sustainable location filming in Scotland, a document which gives production companies tips, key contacts and policy templates to assist them in establishing an environmentally friendly shoot.

If every production implements just one small change, we will protect the environment and save time and money!

Film City Glasgow’s Sustainable Location Guide is available at


The above blog post has been made possible through the generous support of Creative Clyde and the named contributors.

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