An Eco-Friendly Approach to Nightlife: Green is the New Black
Temple Nightclub, located in the SOMA District in San Francisco (less than hour from where Super Bowl 50 will be held!), is unique for several reasons. But beyond Temple being the only Bay Area nightclub to earn a spot on the 2015 Nightclub & Bar Top 100, it’s a sustainable, green nightclub. Mention of the word green makes some operators cringe and assume the worst in terms of cost but owner Paul Hemming says the costs of going green aren’t significant.
“It’s really about creative use of space,” says Paul.
One of the most creative uses of space was the realization of one of Paul’s sustainable visions: an energy harnessing dancefloor.
“I had this idea about harnessing the energy of people dancing” he says.
It took about a year but Paul searched for and eventually located a company that had spent $1,000,000 on research and development on the technology. Energy Floors (Sustainable Dance Club at the time) is located in Rotterdam, Netherlands and had built modules capable of harnessing the energy of dancing. Paul formed a partnership with the company and became the only establishment in North America to have one of the modules, which is 100-square-feet in size and features LED lighting, an infinity-mirror effect, and an energy gauge visible to guests that displays how much energy has been created . To raise awareness of the ability for nightclubs to go green and harness their guests’ energy, Paul has loaned out Temple’s module to a venue located in Los Angeles.
The building which houses Temple Nightclub is a multi-level space and, again using space creatively and intelligently, Paul will be opening a juice bar and café concept inside of it in a few months. Using space effectively and intelligently, a rooftop garden will be utilized in order to source organic herbs, greens and garnishes. The garden solves one problem inherent to going green: finding green, eco-conscious products.
“Sometimes going green means spending more green,” Paul says.
Operators looking to open brand-new green venues or converting older, pre-existing spaces will find that they will face multiple challenges, one of which is cost. The good thing is that effective management of resources goes a long way to navigate the green obstacles. For instance, Temple uses disposable cups. These can be expensive but the nightclub purchases a year’s worth of the cups from a distributor in China, saving on cost. The challenge is to reconcile a sustainable concept with a sustainable business model. The rooftop garden will provide garnishes for Temple’s beverage program. There are times when you’ll have to be creative and forego using big distributors like Sysco to find the green products you need, but Paul says that his cost is only about 10% more on some items when compared to their non-green counterparts.
Luckily, eco-conscious guests are willing to pay more for quality, green beverages. They’re also eager to spend their time and a bit more money inside a nightlife venue that they feel shares their values. Paul is able to pass on the small increased costs he sometimes faces to his guests. According to Temple’s owner, his cost of going green was not significantly higher than if he had opened a “regular” nightclub. Of course, the energy harnessing dancefloor was not cheap! However, it’s a centerpiece, an attention grabber that draws in guests and keeps them engaged with its interactive capabilities. Temple also makes sure to talk about their green approach to nightlife via social media to create buzz and attract a large crowd, both eco-conscious and curious.
Going green has proven to be more than just a passing fad. Architects and designers are tackling the topic of green living and work spaces, auto designers are developing more and more green automobiles, and even everyday items are receiving the green treatment. So, why not nightclubs? With the spate of organic, sustainable spirits, barware, and even furniture hitting the market, operators looking to stand out can make a huge statement (particularly to Millennials) by going green with their nightlife venues. Energy harnessing dancefloors are just innovation that can draw a big crowd; Paul is finding out how he can use technology to power an entire nightlife venue’s audio and/or lighting with sustainable energy.
“It’s been a gradual evolution,” says Paul. “It comes from my belief that the planet is one living organism, humanity is one family… It just seems like the logical thing to do, to be eco-conscious, which is really just planet-conscious.”