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The energy consumption of the studio.

Until recently, I had very little interest or knowledge of the amount of energy I was consuming. As my work relies heavily on technology, computers, projectors and require energy, it feels irresponsible to keep consuming ressources without a basic understanding of the energy system my practice depends on.

In a world of finite ressources and considering the climate change challenges ahead of us, it feels urgent to start this process.

The purpose of this page is to keep track of my energy consumption and find strategies to reduce its impact. This is an incomplete, ongoing process.


The current electricity consumption at the studio is about 4.200 kWh a year (2019).
We get the electricity from the grid, which is 93% from non-renewables here in Belgium.

2017: 3.548 kWh, 567 €
2018: 4.618 kWh, 747 €
2019: 4.215 kWh, 705 €
2020: goal 3.800 kWh (tbc February 2021)
2021: goal 3.600 kWh (tbc February 2022)

Immediate goal: reduce electricity consumption by 10% each year.
Short term goal (end of 2021): Install a 7.000 kWh capacity solar system to offset 100% of our consumption and cut our dependence from the fossil grid. We may be able to inject 3.000 kWh of solar electricity into the grid.

HEATING (fossil gas):

2017: 45.846 kWh, 1.982 €
2018: 65.147 kWh, 2.657 €
2019: 67.262 kWh, 2.613 €
2020: 60.809 kWh
2021: 63.274 kWh, 2.629 €

Goal: There are two approaches to cut consumption
– Find an alternative heating (ie: heat pumps, extract heat from the soil).
– Better insulation of the building.


The economy of the studio is based on presenting projects and installations around the world, and it implied to always go on site to setup works. It was also the opportunity to go hiking in remote places and get inspiration to create new works about nature.

Bringing my unsustainable lifestyle to an end wasn’t a convenient choice to make, but it was necessary.

We had to reorganize everything, but I’ve managed to cut my plane travel energy consumption from 18.000 kWh to 250 kWh, a 72-to-1 factor, in just 2 years.

For the calculations below, I’ve used the official energy consumption estimation from Airbus: 30 kWh / 100km per passenger (full A380).

More ressources: 10-hour flight, 14.200 km flight, Boeing 747 consumption bring my estimations to 32kWh-42kWh/100km

2006 – 2017: estimation: 50.000+ kWh / year
RETURN FLIGHTS: 15-30+ per year.
(Data collection and estimations still in progress).

2018: 62.360 km travelled – 18.708 kWh
RETURN FLIGHTS: 8 (7.7 Tons of CO2)
NO PLANE: 2 projects
NO TRAVEL: 3 projects

2019: 23.400 km travelled – 7.020 kWh
RETURN FLIGHTS: 4 (2.5 Tons of CO2)
NO PLANE: 10 projects
NO TRAVEL: 4 projects

2020: 840 km travelled – 250 kWh
RETURN FLIGHTS: 0.5 (only one single flight) (0.3 Tons of CO2)
NO PLANE: 6 projects
NO TRAVEL: 2 projects

– Cut plane travel to the very minimum, aiming for zero.
– Prioritize public transports, train, shared vehicles.
– Find new ways to deploy and deliver projects without any travel.

CAR: data collection and estimations in progress.
TRAIN: data collection and estimations in progress.

Water treatment and distribution requires energy, estimation TBD.
10/08/2019 – 18/09/20: 35 m3
At 4.72 € / m3, it’s a yearly budget of 165.30 €

Note: We’re collecting rain water with a 500L water tank, we use about 2 m2 / year to water plants and greens.

Goal: Integrate rain water into the studio’s water system.

Every new piece of technology, every purchase on amazon, requires significant amounts of energy from fabrication to delivery up to its destruction or recycling process. (read more)

Goal: We are reducing our overall consumption of “new equipment”, and we refrain from purchasing the latest gadgets.

The data above doesn’t reflect the operational impact of projects (computers, projectors..) when they are running outside the studio in exhibitions, events, public spaces..

Goal: Once progress is made on the direct energy consumption of our activities, I will focus on the indirect energy usage mobilized when the projects are being shown to the public.

Despite drastic efforts to cut my use of energy, and therefore my Co2 emissions, this research made me realize that the largest energy consumption wasn’t only plane travel, but also the fossil gas we use to heat our big studio, and I must come up with a plan to reduce that consumption drastically.

Generally speaking, this year’s energy consumption will be my lowest since 2017, and I will continue these efforts to get closer to net 0 kWh.
Whether this is realistic or not, it is the target. I will post my progress here.


  • Lotta Stöver

    janvier 22, 2021 at 10:03

    Hej Joanie, nice article. It reminded me a bit of the work that the people at Low Tech Magazine are doing. Maybe you find some inspiration for using less energy for heating: https://solar.lowtechmagazine.com/2015/03/local-heating.html – Warm regards, Lotta

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