Green Filmmaking - The Grid Project

Latest 28 May 2020

News Story

London skyline in daytime

The UK production sector has a significant vote of confidence from international productions who champion our tax reliefs, world-class crews, state-of-the-art studios and facilities, and locations.

With iconic landmarks to rivers and parks, London's range of locations can be used to not only represent itself, but also as a double for other parts of the world. Because of this, the demand for suitable locations has never been greater.

When filming at a location, productions establish a Unit Base nearby which is made up of production and technical vehicles to provide facilities such as catering, hair & make-up, costume and toilet facilities. Dependent on production scale, vehicles can vary from eight to over thirty. To provide power to all the vehicles, productions will hire a minimum of two high power diesel generators, consuming an average of 80 litres of diesel for each 12-hour period of use, costing an average of 70p per litre.

To help address the Mayor of London’s Environmental strategy to invest in clean energy, Film London have been researching and developing the Grid Project.

The Grid Project examines the supply of green energy via the mains network to eight key Unit Base locations in London. By installing electrical supply cabinets at certain locations, the aim is for productions to plug into these rather than the diesel generators.

There are significant environmental benefits to moving the film and TV industry from diesel generators to mains powered electricity. For example, CO2 emissions would reduce dramatically, as well as noise pollution that could disturb nearby residents. Fuel costs would also be reduced, helping productions monitor and diversify their spend.

With seven potential locations in and around London, a pilot is set to go ahead at a selected location, before rolling out further research and refining models.

Whilst Film London are leading the project, it has the unanimous support of respective Boroughs, Royal Parks, TfL, The Mayor’s Office, the GLA, the Production Guild and BAFTA.

The Grid Project started as part of the European partnership project Green Screen, funded by Interreg Europe. The partnership consists of eight oranisations from different countries (Belgium, France, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and the UK), led by Film London. The film and television industry in Belgium has already found solutions to plug into the electrical grid when filming on location, and Green Screen project partner Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) shared this experience within the project.

Thanks to the European collaboration and funding, the Grid Project was made possible.

Green Screen

Green Screen is a practical online tool that supports environmentally friendly filming in London, a joint initiative between Film London and sustainability consultancy Greenshoot. The Green Screen pilot programme and online platform was made possible with support from Creative Skillset. It is supported by the London Filming Partnership and London's Borough Film Services.

Green Screen: Europe

Film London are lead partner on Interreg Europe funded partnership project Green Screen. The scheme will work across eight EU regions over five years to improve policies and achieve measurable success in reducing the carbon footprint of the film and TV industries. Participating European regions will improve policies to motivate and equip the current and future workforce to adopt sustainable practices and reduce CO2 emissions.