Practical AV Tips for Reducing an Events’ Carbon Footprint

This post is sponsored by Evergreen Brick Works   and written by Melissa Deslaurier and Robert Thompson on behalf of TSEF

In the dynamic world of event planning, audiovisual (AV) production has become synonymous with creating memorable experiences. However, this can sometimes come at a cost to the environment. As the global focus on sustainability intensifies, event organizers are now challenged to harmonize the magic of AV production with a commitment to minimizing their carbon footprint.

The first step is awareness and understanding.

Audio-visual elements, from elaborate sound systems to dazzling light shows, can contribute significantly to an event’s carbon footprint. The manufacturing, transportation, and energy consumption associated with AV equipment all play a role in the environmental impact of an event.

Making informed decisions that prioritize sustainability without compromising the event’s wow factor is critical to ensuring events that align with planners’ desire to reduce an event’s environmental impact. Don’t worry; there are some practical strategies to keep in mind.

Invest in Sustainable Technology

While many Audiovisual suppliers are investing in sustainable technology, event Planners should also request that sustainable technology be used to support their events.

AV companies can then opt for energy-efficient and eco-friendly AV equipment. They can choose technologies designed with sustainability in mind, such as LED lighting systems and energy-efficient projection and sound systems.

Rechargeable Battery-Powered LED lights are especially good at enhancing an event and have a 10–15-hour (if not longer) battery life per charge. Other battery-powered equipment is now making its way into the industry, including rechargeable battery-powered charging stations, bistro tables, and on-demand power packs for computers and personal devices. This will help reduce the need for large power draws from your venue/facility. Remember, your vendor partners seek the best solution to meet your needs. Ensure they know sustainability is one of them so they select the best-fit items.

Source Local

Sourcing AV equipment locally can minimize transportation emissions. Working with local suppliers can also reduce your event’s carbon footprint and support the surrounding community.

Keep in mind that in-house or on-site audio-visual suppliers are very knowledgeable regarding the venue’s existing power abilities/limitations. Once they understand your event needs as a planner, they are well suited to offer guidance as to the best use of resources, what works in that space, what doesn’t, what may need to be outsourced, and how best to maximize the minimal drain on recourses for maximum effect. You may even be fortunate to take advantage of a preexisting setup, which results in less use of people, power and equipment.

Reusable Set and Scenic Pieces

Design sets and stages that are reusable for multiple events. Renting reusable backdrop pieces from AV companies that get new lighting applications, gobo branding, projections, or a new stage arrangement will give an existing option a new life. This reduces waste and cuts down on the resources required for constructing new pieces from scratch.

Another option is to incorporate scenic pieces that are 3D printed and compostable after. You could even rent real plants and foliage that go back to greenhouses and continue to grow another day.

Embrace Digital in all forms.

From mobile apps to banners to wayfinding signage.

Most attendees are familiar with event apps. It’s a great way to find all event information in one place. In addition to helping eliminate paper consumption and waste, apps can be easily updated and integrated with social media platforms. Digital banners are more versatile than traditional printed banners. A digital backdrop not only saves on paper and printing costs, but it also allows event organizers to create an impressive visual display that will captivate their guests and tie all aspects of the event brand together. Digital signs and banners are ideal locations for sponsorship loops, corporate branding, or animated content. Digital screens can be easily updated to provide guests with up-to-the-minute information and programming changes, if necessary.

Virtual Alternatives

When possible, leverage technology to host virtual or hybrid events. This not only drastically reduces the carbon footprint associated with travel but also opens the possibility of making your event more accessible.

Educate & Communicate

Why not use your event AV to engage and educate your audience about sustainability and environmental issues? Showcase your green initiatives, communicate your sustainability goals and achievements, and inspire your audience to take action. Create interactive and educational experiences, such as quizzes, games, simulations, and storytelling with your AV, that raise awareness and understanding of sustainability and environmental topics.

In a world where sustainability is no longer a choice but a necessity, event organizers must rise to the challenge of creating immersive experiences without compromising the planet’s health. By embracing sustainable audiovisual production practices, events can not only reduce their environmental impact but also set an inspiring example for the industry. Sharing these examples will help others ensure they take steps to further the initiatives of making sustainable events the norm rather than the exception.

Balancing technological innovation with a commitment to eco-conscious practices is not just a trend; it’s a responsible choice that ensures events are not only unforgettable but also environmentally responsible.

Case Studies:


At a recent CSAE TETE A TETE tradeshow in Ottawa, the technology for a large booth with full LED décor lighting, two LED monitors, a Lit bistro table, a photo booth with full camera lighting, computers and a printer were all powered by a portable electric solution. They were creating a net zero carbon footprint during the event.


In the fall of 2021, Waterloo CanSPEP took on the mission to be one of the first sustainable hybrid conferences coming out of the pandemic. A big mission it was. All CO2 usage was measured for the entire conference, including all the AV equipment wattage usage, travel of the AV team as well as truck delivery and pick up.  The AV team consolidated their travel with the technicians travelling from Toronto to Waterloo and home again in carpools. The trucks carried some extra equipment to eliminate additional deliveries. Power was saved using LED technology on lighting and low current draw visual and audio equipment. Most importantly, and the most significant savings, was that the event streamed the entire program onto a virtual platform, allowing virtual attendees to join and be part of the conference from the comfort of their own homes—a huge part of the overall CO2 savings.

Authors: Melissa Deslauriers & Robert Thompson

Melissa Deslaurier is Director of Client Engagement for CCR Solutions and PT faculty at Conestoga College. Follow her on Linkedin

Robert Thompson is the Managing Partner of AV-CANADA. Follow him on Linkedin