Gladiators, Shine Productions for Sky 1.
The challenge: To cut the Gladiators' carbon footprint without affecting the look of the show.
The first step was sitting down with the people at Shine and Pinewood Shepperton to discuss ideas for making the second series of the show much greener. It was important to make clear from the beginning that any changes we made wouldn't have an impact on the look of the show. If anything, any cost savings we made by reducing the show's energy consumption would be passed on and spent elsewhere on the production's design - so it would look better, not worse.
One thing I have learned is that changing how you operate studio sets and lighting on big shows such as Gladiators makes a massive difference. This was the case on Al Gore meets Clive Anderson - a studio show we made last year to accompany the UK television premiere of Al Gore's environmental film An Inconvenient Truth. This show made use of a range of energy efficient lighting technologies and meant that lighting energy was cut by 75%.
Success on Gladiators was also down to the kind of lighting we used. Conventional studio lights lose 90% of their energy through heat, so by using energy efficient LEDs you are able to keep the studio much cooler, saving money on air conditioning. It also means that the studio audience, studio staff and presenters aren't perspiring all the time.
We didn't insist that LEDs were used throughout instead of tungsten lighting, but let lighting director Mark Kenyon decide where to use which lights. Generally LEDs were used where the lighting was decorative rather than functional.
We also redesigned the set. Instead of the two 300-strong banks of audiences on both sides of the original set at Shepperton, housed in two studios of 18,000 sq ft and 12,000 sq ft, we tried a single-audience seating area on one side only. This meant that we had less area to light, plus we had the benefit of a 600-strong crowd.
We also made sure that a lot of the materials that were used in the construction of the set were recycled - timber for instance - and we turned down the temperature of the pool by two degrees, which also saved energy. An audit revealed that we had managed to cut energy costs by 35%.
Little things such as riggers using their own water bottles rather than disposable cups also helped, as did keeping the number of scripts circulated among the production team to a minimum.
But that's not the end of our innovation on the show, or other shows. In a recent brainstorm with producers we came up with 20 ideas about what we can do next.
Gladiators continues on Sky1 until April.