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Civic Center Eats Undergoes Electric Grid Power Test

Former Festival Organizer Shares Idea Cutting Out Generators At Civic Center Eats by CBS Colorado on YouTube

An environmentally-friendly change allowed guests at Civic Center Eats to dine in silence on Tuesday. Noisy food truck generators were replaced with quiet electric grid power, a setup that reduces both noise and the carbon footprint.

Civic Center Eats
Civic Center Eats (credit: CBS)

"We're thrilled to be demonstrating once again how the use of an electric grid system rather than fuel-burning generators can greatly improve the sound and air quality experienced by visitors to EATS, and the Civic Center Conservancy looks forward to working with the City of Denver to permanently enhance park infrastructure to eventually allow for all public events hosted in Civic Center to utilize clean and quite power," said CCC Executive Director Scott Robson. CCC partnered on the project with Denver Arts & Venues, Colorado Creative Industries, Majestic Collaborations, Performing Arts Readiness, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Sunbelt Rentals.

Visitors also had the greener option of hydrating with a water tree and cups, rather than purchasing water bottles. The environmentally-conscious effort was a lesson in sustainability and the potential these set-ups have in emergency situations.

"Sustainability and resilience are not just about using less gas and plastic for the environment - efficient ways of making food for many people can be critical using limited resources in events like natural disasters," said Matthew Kowal, founder of Majestic Collaborations. "Gas generators are simply not efficient, not well-regulated for exhaust and noise and smells, and this impacts the health and enjoyability of employees and patrons."

Civic Center Eats
Civic Center Eats (credit: CBS)

Before becoming an emergency preparedness consultant, Kowal produced festivals for over a decade. He found that temporary power, distribution and safety skills are needed for most mass gatherings – from concerts to crisis.

"A large or small air conditioner, that could be used in a hospital or in the ops room at a festival. We use a lot of the same infrastructure; whether it's waste, power, water, communications systems in a festival environment as you would in temporary housing after a forest fire or earthquake," said Kowal.

Participants of The Art of Mass Gatherings: Event and Emergency Electrics Workshop used Civic Center Eats Tuesday as a hands-on opportunity to deploy distributed grid power.

"Each one teach one, that's what they say. Those of us who throw these big events can help spread and diffuse the knowledge of best practice. The community knowing how to take care of each other is important. there's only so much FEMA to go around in emergencies," said Kowal.
Kowal says the current infrastructure of the amphitheater makes it difficult and expensive for Civic Center EATS to use grid power more often. His hope is that Tuesday's demonstration will serve as an of example how beneficial it can be, and lead to future improvements to make generators a thing of the past.

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