Reducing Power Demand

Reducing the demand for power at can be accomplished through;

  • technology
  • changes in energy usage habits

At many indoor events, such as trade shows and exhibitions, stallholders will be plugging in en-masse. To get everyone to kick the power-board habit communicating the reasons why reductions are important, along with rewards and penalties should work.

Energy Efficient Equipment

  • Low energy equipment and lighting is available off the shelf and continually being developed.
  • Requesting participants use low wattage alternatives should be part of their agreement to attend.
  • Using low energy lights such as CFLs or LEDs is becoming standard practice across the world both commercially and privately.
  • However you need to make it a matter of policy for those at your event.
  • There has recently been a noticeable increase in the amount of energy efficient gear coming onto stages.
  • Any efficiency presented by equipment has generally not accumulated to make enough of an impact in reducing the size of generators.
  • However the amount of new energy efficient gear is starting to have an impact and it’s time we take advantage of this to make sure it’s translated to reductions in generator sizes and fuel consumption and resulting emissions.

Switch Off Campaign

  • Through developing onsite messaging along with pre-show communication, encourage people to switch off and unplug when equipment is not in use.
  • Encourage power boards with on/off switches so people don’t have crawl under tables or unplug in order to switch off.
  • Make sure motion sensors and timer switches are used where they will be effective in reducing power demands.
  • Turn off lights and equipment when not being used.
  • Don’t use lights in the daytime.

Power Diet

  • Place quotas or upper limits on power users.
  • Third parties such as traders and sponsors using power can be charged for extra requirements.
  • Put financial incentives in place for power users to use less.
  • Restrict the use of power hungry equipment and lighting.
  • Even if the venue doesn’t offer this, you can implement this system to dampen enthusiasm for plugging-in by participants at your event. Just because you’re hooked up to the grid doesn’t mean you have to use it. Offer incentives to those who can do without power.

Power Usage Monitoring

  • Ensure continual monitoring during the event so that the pledges made by end users are kept or if increases are needed, you know what you to expect next time around.

Reducing Demand For Generators

By reducing the number of generators you need, and using fewer more efficiently, you can reduce fuel volume and resulting emissions, no matter if they are from mineral diesel or a sustainable biofuel.

Undertake a thorough assessment of likely power requirements for your event in collaboration with production staff and the power contractor.

Plan Generator Placement and Distribution

  • Reduce the generator size.
  • Number of outlets requiring power.
  • Maximum load each outlet will require.
  • Estimate of peak usage times.
  • Distribution and cabling planning.
  • Install permanent distribution if you have a permanent event site.

Supply All Generators and Ban any Small Petrol Ones: Supply all generators on site and ban any small petrol or diesel generators that may be used by groups such as sponsors, market stalls, media or other stand-alone participants. Allowing small petrol or diesel generators to be used by individuals, you will not only be unable to keep a handle on fuel volume and type, but may also have noise problems (most sound like a lawn mower).

Measure Usage And Set Goals: Work with your power contractor and production staff to assess where savings and efficiencies can be made and set goals around fuel volume, kVA and total kW hours for the next event.

Plan for Efficiencies: The event site manager or production manager and the power contractor will work together to plan numbers and placement of generators. Often power distribution planning has to come after site layout factors such as footfall patterns, creative production and aesthetics, access routes, and lay of the land etc are considered.  With careful planning of generator placement, efficiencies can be made. The following needs to be considered:

  • Number of outlets requiring power
  • Maximum load for each outlet
  • Estimate of peak usage times
  • Distribution and cabling planning

Remember the compounding factor of over estimation of requirements: Also be aware of possible overstating of power requirements by production staff on music stages for sound, and particularly for lighting. There tends to be a snowball effect, with more power added as the word passes from band to tour manager, to production manager, to site manager, to power contractor.

On Mobile Generators

  • Energy efficient equipment means reduced demand
  • Reduced demand can only translate into reduced GHG emissions if generator sizes are reduced.
  • BEWARE: Unless your generator is able to reduce combustion due to reduced load, unused capacity will be burnt off producing the same amount of emissions.

Install permanent cabling: If your event is on a permanent site and you have a fairly stable site plan, you will find terrific savings by putting in permanent distribution. Installing permanent underground cabling will mean a reduction in the number of generator units you need and therefore create efficiencies.


  • An audit of load and usage patterns will give you solid data for future planning.
  • Most generators will produce readouts, which can be tracked manually or automatically. Monitors can be attached to the generators and the data then transferred to computer.
  • By measuring your power consumption over the time of your event you will see if you are over supplying an area or where other savings could be made.
  • Oversupply of generators, in terms of kVA size is common, and you should see whether what was planned was actually delivered, so that all your planning doesn’t go out the window because of an administrative or booking challenge at the generator hire company’s depot.

The results may highlight potential efficiencies where you could;

  • Reduce the generator size
  • Have secondary generators connected to switch on only at peak times
  • Reduce generator numbers by extending distribution