The 100 % EFS Footprint Tracking

Final Report

The post production phase is over, and the research on the Ecological Footprint of the 100% Environmentally Friendly Show has come to an end. The making of the show required in total around five global hectares (gha) of bioproductive land. The figure below illustrates what caused this imprint on planet earth. This blog is to give a detailed insight on concept, approach and measured data on all stages of this research.

Footprint Counter

The green box below shows the current measure of the footprint of the show. Gha stands for global hectares. Note We could not directly measure the energy and resource consumption the audience, theater personell, or theater infrastructure cause for each performance on a daily basis. In the section on Integrating the Complete Footprint we describe how we estimated that.

Measuring the show’s Ecological Footprint

We use the footprint as scientific concept to calculate the shows imprint on planet earth. The Ecological Footprint measures appropriated biocapacity expressed in global average bioproductive hectares, across five distinct land use types (Built-up Land, Cropland, Grazing Land, Forest, Fishing Ground). In addition there is one category of indirect demand for biocapacity in the form of absorptive capacity for carbon dioxide emissions.
The average Ecological Footprint of an Austrian for 2007 was slightly above 5 global hectares (gha), nearly twice as much as the available Austrian biocapacitiy per capita (data and methodological description are available at footprintnetwork).
In order to get an idea what the show in all it’s production states requires in terms of global hectares we set a tight research schedule. In a first phase, we collect raw data and measure person activities related to the show as well as requirements on infrastructure. We calculate a subset of the Personal Ecological Footprint every day.
Person activities and used infrastructure (ie. for the heating of the rehearsal rooms or materials used for the making of the set) are measured separately. New insights are posted on a weekly basis. More details of this research (such as data tables) are available in the working paper.

Compensation of the Show Footprint

We are going to track the compensation our audience is willing to contribute. The first bar in the chart below represents the shows total footprint (including estimates and buffer), whereas the lower reveals compensation. Click the coloured bar segments to get an according legend and detailed values. You can retrieve data on commited compensations from the spreadsheet. This section here describes how we were able to anticipate forthcoming Footprints of the Show.

Representing Ecological Footprint Subsets

Visualizing overuse of planet earth’s resources, is a common practice. A diverse range of tools has been applied to do so. As in this research only subsets of footprints (personal and infrastructural) are calculated, there is hardly reference or best-practice. In addition there are constraints by what the technical infrastructure allows – at least as far as dynamic chart generation is concerned. When investigating subsets an additional question arises: To what can a subset be compared to? There is no data on the average of an Viennese for February to April available and will probably never be. The only reference could therefore be Austria’s biocapacity per capita and day. Even in that case, we face the problem that we would have to know the share of biocapacity the investigated subset should claim. This would be a normative estimation at it’s best and of hardly any scientific value. The only adequate illustration are those on relative change (ie. one day to another). This is the very challenge for visualizations. The slideshow below and the following sections are full of examples on how we tackled presentation issues.

Integrating the Complete Footprint of the Show

We have to approximate the overall of the show footprint. This estimate serves as basis to calculate which footprint, we would have to reduce in order to make the show footprint neutral. We applied a straightforward extrapolation approach.
The charts below illustrate the Ecological Footprint we extrapolated based on live and presumed data. Several levels of aggregation are displayed. Click chart images to open large interactive version in a new tab.

Legend All values in gha. The [*] indicates live measured data, the others are based on model and extrapolation (see data in the spreadsheet).

Live Data

Data is collected on a daily basis. This allows us to give you some more detailed information on the the shows footprint, may it result from the personal or infrastructural subset.

Personal Footprint Subset

As previously mentioned, the data collected on personal footprint subsets can only be related to akin records. This implies the setting up some kind of competition between the crew members. Below, several differing qualities are set in contrast in order to reveal differences on the individual level.



Legend gma = global squared metres, gha = glb. hectares [I] Last submissions [II] Crew’s EF (sum) [III] Crew’s EF (avg) [IV] Contibutors [V] Top Items

Last Submissions The table above is a selection of the most recent data submissions of each crew member. Footprint gha is the subset of the footprint represented in global hectares (gha), whereas % of crew’s 7 day Ø reveals the individual daily footprint’s share of the average of all the crew member’s footprints for the last seven days.

Open Questions What are we currently investigating? Open questions are directly visible in the table above. Those with that status calculated should be visible in the bar chart on the infrastructural footprint.

Infrastructural (non-personal) Footprint

The infrastructural footprint (ie. coming from good, the transport of goods, electricity, gas …) is available in the charts below. The bar chart illustrates the imprints on planet earth.


click to get large interactive versionI mapII click to get large interactive versionIII

Legend gma = global squared metres, gha = global hectares; [I] Infrastructural Footprint [II] Toxic Transport [III] Transport Footprints

Legend gma = global squared metres, gha = global hectares; [I] Infrastructural Footprint [II] Toxic Transport [III] Transport Footprints

Transportation The making of the 100% environmentally friendly show involves a lot of transportation. We track ordered goods, weigh them and dissemble their transportation paths. Transport routes are sketched in the map, whereas the actual data is illustrated in the charts. Although some stuff was shipped from far away, individual transportation by lorry makes by far the largest share in terms of gha. The table below shows a snapshot on the infrastructural subset from March, 3rd. Gas stands for heating office and rehearsal room, as electricity does. If new categories arise, they will be added manually, but on a weekly basis.

Month I (February: Weeks I – IV)

It is already more than one month ago, that we started the footprint tracking. Time for a first resumé. The first month was mainly story development, organization, rehearsal set making and research design. With over 200 personal daily records, and a detailed bookkeeping, several interesting analyzations can be made. As a first aspect, we represent how the footprint developed over time. The interactive chart below is to illustrate that. The x-axis, and bubble size denote the cumulated personal footprint subset, whereas the y-axis is for the daily footprint. They jump as we usually respect free weekends. Press the play button show development over time. You can click bubbles, and check the boxes besides our names to highlight and track us.

As the above is a rather complex representation, a bar plot animation on our cumulated footprint subsets – that means, the area each of us crew members needed from the beginning of the month – is easier to read. Push the play button, mark crew members, move over or scroll to zoom in.

A comprehension between personal and infrastructural footprint reveals how much embodied energy (by production, transport, or alike) and the use of fossils for heating ot lightning of rehearsal and production facilities require. Move over and scroll to zoom.

The following paragraphs describe, events and developments of the first four weeks with some more detail. Pictures taken (gas and electricity metres) as well as contribution and weekly summaries are in the slideshow attached below these lines.
Week I As the rehearsal phase started on Tuesday, February 01st, the whole crew commenced data collection by that day. There is only one entry for the 31st, as I spent this whole day on setting up the data collection form and thereby dedicated nearly the whole day to the show. Imprint the person related activities of the first week had are shown above. The overall footprint equals appropriation of the annual biocapacity of an area more than five volley ball fields large, that can be attributed to show production only. Though these results are intermediate, it is astonishing how big the share of coffee consumption is.
Week II On Monday we had a meeting and discussed issues of data collection an footprint calculation. As a result footprints were collected a bit differently, whereas the average of the personal footprint subset went down below 0.24 global square metres (gma). As we recorded one day more than last week, the subtotal personal footprint is with 927gma nevertheless higher than in week I. Gas and electricity usage is now incorporated, and presented in the section on infrastructural (non-personal) footprint
Week III and Week IV In these two weeks of February though Raffael not working on the show, the consumption of coffee, wine and cheese had the biggest impact. Top contributor in both weeks was Kornelia, with more than ten times of Dina’s. Detailed data is illustrated in the slideshow below and the working paper.

Month II (March: Weeks V – VIII)

Week V and Week VI Footprint tracking became a daily routine, but since the beginning of this week, we have a new crew member: Claribel. As data for week 6 is not yet completely available, we are limited to resume on the week before. Agnieszka and Laia lived the Thursday on very big foot (as you can see on the bar chart in the gallery below) with the appropriation of 42 global squared metres (gma) each. Irene had the smallest on Monday, with a tenth of that. Again coffe, wine and cheese do cause the biggest appropriations (more than 52.4% or 374 gma) of biocapacity.


Communicating scientific research to the public happens rarely without misunderstandings. There is a good reason for events like famelab ( This section is to address some questions in brief.

How can I know if my meal enjoyed a flight?

A publication for Germany (in german) describes that there is a majority of aerial food miles coming from

  • fresh fish from African countries, Sri Lanka and the Maledives
  • lobster (alive) from Canada
  • fresh red fish from Iceland
  • fresh beans from Egypt, Brazil and Thailand
  • fresh vegetables from East- and West-Africa (especially Kenia and Ghana), Thailiand or Dom. Rep.
  • fresh asparagus from Peru
  • fresh papayas
  • fresh guava, mango or mangostea from Pakistan, Brazil and Thailand
  • fresh pineapple from African countries
  • fresh fruit from Uganda, Ghana and Togo
  • strawberries or grapes from Egypt, Israel and South Africa
  • horse meat from Canada

Source: Zusammenfassung der Studie: Flugimporte von Lebensmitteln und Blumen nach Deutschland

Complex Footprint. How to convert a glass of wine?

A footprint measured in global hectares appears to be calculated like in a black box. This section is to illustrate how we convert 1/8l of wine into global hectares of biocapacity claimed for a year (gha).
First, we convert the 1/8l to a functional unit we can use. In this case that’s milliliters, so we get 125ml. As a next step we take a look at our conversion table (see Table 2, p.8 in the working paper). We find out that 1ml of wine equals some 0.000005 gha on average. There we go: 1 glass of wine requires 0.000625 gha or 6.25 global square metres per year.

What do you measure on a daily basis?

This is basically a subset of an actual personal footprint. We do include food*, beverage*, transport**, hygiene** and shopping or service consumption***. In all these we collect data on those things having a significantly higher imprint on planet earth (see again Table 2, p.8 in the working paper).

(*) The whole days consumption, but only on days when involved in the show
(**) Only those transports, or hygiene measures the crew members relate to the show
(***) Everything that could be of interest is collected, manually (not programmatically!) evaluated, and published in the weekly summary (above)

What solution is Cap & Trade?