Get Smart for a Sustainable Future: Clean Power & Right-Sizing Diesel Generators

News December 2022

February 7, 2023

The DGA’s Sustainable Future Committee wants to help raise awareness of what productions can do to reduce carbon emissions and waste in film and television production to mitigate the adverse impacts on the environment. Here we look at making a smart power plan to help achieve that goal.

As DGA members and leaders on set, we should be informed and encourage our employers and crews to decarbonize and lower fuel use by making a smart power plan and right-sizing the use of diesel generators. Take these important steps now to increase health and safety and bridge to the eventual electrification of our fleets.

Studies show that on average, 80% of the time we use less than 20% of the capacity of our diesel generators.  We are over-powering and thus overspending and emitting unnecessary carbon emissions. In addition, generators run most efficiently when using a load of 60-80% of capacity. Running a low load can create problems, including more frequent breakdowns.

Ask your transportation and electric department to monitor the daily load on their diesel generators. It is a good place to start a discussion about how we can right-size our generators and encourage the use of smaller and appropriate size generators on set and base camp.

Well-planned power distribution and utilizing clean energy options can often eliminate a diesel generator. Pair smaller diesel generators with battery packs that power video village, craft service, DIT, sound, and smaller sets. Use solar trailers when available. At night, power working trucks and catering with battery sources.

Also check out emerging new hybrid systems that switch between a diesel generator and lithium batteries.  Once the battery is depleted, it switches to the generator power which also recharges the battery. Once charged, the system switches back to battery power.

When available, use renewable diesel and whenever possible, tie into the power grid to eliminate a generator completely.

Click here for more about the DGA Sustainable Future Committee.

News December 2022
Information from the DGA's Sustainable Future Committee