Edison and La Scala promote sustainability culture

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The relationship between Edison and La Scala has been going on for almost 150 years, and is renewed every time. The result of this encounter is a path towards  sustainability and decarbonisation.

Those who have been to La Scala are well aware of how strong is the link between its architecture and its performances, from the union of which unique suggestions are born.

It must therefore have been a very strong emotion for those who experienced the theatre lit up by electricity for the first time. It is Boxing Day night (26 December) in 1883, Amilcare Ponchielli's "La Gioconda" is on stage and the hall of the Piermarini is illuminated by 2,450 new light bulbs activated thanks to the introduction of electricity: the spectacle is unique and enthusiastically recounted by all the journalists of the time.

The credit for this small miracle goes to Giuseppe Colombo, founder of Edison, the first to understand the potential of electricity and to start experimenting with it in our country, with the first power station in continental Europe in Milan, in Via Santa Radegonda, just a few steps from Milan Cathedral. La Scala was thus one of the first buildings in which the new lighting technology was fully experimented with, overcoming gas lighting, which was causing problems for indoor air health.

If from 2010 to today, by lighting the Prima with energy from renewable sources, Edison made it possible to zero emissions on the opening night of La Scala's season, since April 2021 Edison has been La Scala's sole supplier of green energy, avoiding the emission into the environment of 2,600 tonnes of CO2 in one year, the amount absorbed by about 180 plants. Starting in 2018, Edison has also carried out a series of interventions aimed at improving the efficiency of the theatre and its main venues. This included the lighting project for the Museo Teatrale alla Scala, under the direction of light designer Marco Filibeck; the energy efficiency of the former Ansaldo Laboratories, covering an area of 20. 000 square metres; the efficiency upgrading of the globes and the central chandelier decorating the 'Piermarini' Hall and the internal lighting system of the boxes and foyer (interventions that saw the replacement of more than 600 incandescent lamps with the same number of high-efficiency LED lamps, allowing a reduction in electricity consumption of more than 80% and avoiding the emission of about 50 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere per year).

“Scala Green” is the latest project that Edison and La Scala have developed to make facilities even more efficient

In 2021, the collaboration between the Foundation and Edison will continue thanks to the "Scala Green" project, which promotes the Foundation's path of energy sustainability and decarbonisation and which translates into the development of an energy diagnosis useful for outlining the Foundation's next steps in a progressive energy transition plan in all its city venues.

Edison's many years of experience in the field of efficiency and the spirit of innovation nurtured by its collaboration with major university institutes in Milan have made it feasible to reconstruct the digital energy model of the Theatre and the former Ansaldo Laboratories and to reproduce their behaviour over five years in relation to the days the offices are open, the number of performances and the flow of employees, artists, spectators and visitors. In particular, thanks to an accurate analysis of the plants in the Theatre and the ex-Ansaldo Workshops, their consumption profiles and the digital energy modelling of the buildings, potential interventions needed to reduce their environmental impact have been identified, avoiding the release into the atmosphere of an additional 2,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, i.e. the amount absorbed by approximately 60,000 plants. For this project, Edison surveyed 1,200 premises, collected data from over 900 plants and analysed 6,000 light bulbs.

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