Green Theater Takes Shape

Guest blog post by Claire Mauro

CityDance Conservatory Dancer
“Brutal Beauty” Choreographed by Christopher K Morgan and Artists, Pictured: CityDance Conservatory Dancer, Photo by: Brianne Bland

Sustainable practices and dance are taking center stage at the CityDance Studio Theater at Strathmore. The 125-seat, state-of-the-art eco-friendly black box theater uses the latest in sustainable technology including solar energy, LED lighting, and electronic retractable riser seating with sustainable textiles. All of these components help increase the theater’s environmental, economic and energy efficiency.

The goal for the solar design is to have all the theatrical elements “off the grid” – the solar energy produced by the panels will provide enough power to run the theater, as well as be able to provide solar offset for the energy used by the education wing.

In addition, the theater uses non-VOC paint, non-PBDEs soft-goods for the theater masking, and developed a policy for purchasing the most eco-friendly and sustainable consumables and materials, such as costumes, cleaners, and floor tape.

“CityDance is constantly thinking of ways to give back to the community by providing transformative experiences that are both artistically meaningful and educational for audiences,” said Alexe Nowakowski, CityDance executive director. “The green theater further fulfills this goal by prompting conversation and providing a new type of educational opportunity for patrons.”

CityDance is currently partnering with Power2Give to raise money for a new sound system for this “Green Theater.”

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Founded in 1996, CityDance produces and presents professional dance at venues across the DC metropolitan area; trains young dancers for professional careers; and provides free dance education programs for thousands of students each year.

Pitango Gelato Goes Solar

Pitango Gelato has been committed to eco-friendly practices since the company opened its doors in 2007. Now, in addition to the measures Pitango already takes to reduce energy and minimize waste, the company’s dairy facility in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, has converted to solar power.

The dairy is located on Spring Wood Organic Farm, where a single herd of grass-fed cows supplies all of the milk and cream used in Pitango’s organic gelato. The farm’s new solar panels  are generating enough electricity to operate the farm and the dairy.

Aside from long-term economic incentives, Spring Wood owner Roman Stoltzfoos decided to go solar to reduce the farm’s carbon footprint. “It is a substantial investment for us, but it is clearly the right thing to do to make the farm and the dairy greener,” he says. “We’ll be using much less fossil fuel for what we have to do.”

The farm even uses a solar panel on its high-tech “Egg-Mobile,” which houses free-range hens that provide the daily supply of freshly laid eggs used in some of Pitango’s recipes. The hen house on wheels with solar-powered feeders, lights, egg laying boxes, and doors “delivers all of the modern bells and whistles,” says Stoltzfoos, “with minimal environmental impact.”

“It’s not always easy being green,” says Pitango Gelato founder and CEO Noah Dan. “A large component of our product is energy, so naturally we think about it all the time. For us, being green is being smart, and finding a path to improve our product and its sustainability is our ultimate goal.”

The shift toward solar on the farm is only one example of Pitango’s energy-efficient practices. Pitango’s custom-made bancone (gelato cases) used in each shop are liquid-cooled by glycol–an energy-retaining liquid derived from corn. Once the glycol is adequately cooled, it requires very little energy to maintain a temperature that is optimal for storing the gelato at the perfect consistency, with each flavor in its own sealed compartment. Dan estimates that Pitango’s bancone consume as little as one-tenth of the electricity of comparable air-cooled display cases. Pitango also uses biodegradable serving cups, coffee cups and gelato spoons.

Pitango matches its eco-friendly practices with a commitment to create a healthier product. The company’s artisanal gelato contains less fat than premium ice cream, while its sorbets contain no dairy products and are vegan and fat-free.

Made with ingredients, from fresh local fruit to organic chocolate, Pitango’s products contain no flavorings, colorings, or chemicals of any kind.