What is Somerset House doing to address sustainability at SKATE?

With everything we do across our events and magnificent building, we work hard to minimise our carbon footprint and SKATE is no exception. For many years, we have continually taken steps to ensure we are being as sustainable as we can be and you can read about our actions in more detail here.


With everything we do, we consider our environmental impact and SKATE is no exception. Year on year we work hard to minimise carbon footprint and take steps to ensure we are being as sustainable as we can be. 

Somerset House generates almost 60% of its own electricity on site, with a Combined Cooling Heat and Power System designed to reduce emissions. Our remaining energy needs are purchased from renewable, low carbon sources. As part of our ongoing efforts to decarbonise our building, in 2022, we invested over £400k in year-round energy saving initiatives across the Somerset House site and we are planning further decarbonisation as part of our roadmap to becoming net zero.   

Income from SKATE ticket sales is used to invest in our Grade 1 listed estate, including sustainability initiatives, as well as supporting our year-round cultural programme, which regularly actively engages audiences in environmental issues. 

For SKATE specifically, we take the following approach: 


We are working with event and sustainability experts Hope Solutions to support us with measuring SKATE’s environmental impact and to help identify further improvements we can make that will make a material difference. For example, for this coming season, we are changing our heating systems in the SKATE Exchange and SKATE Lounge and introducing an infra-red and thermostat system. This process will continue in future years. 


At Somerset House, we aim to recycle and reuse as much as possible, with the waste we can’t recycle used for power generation. For SKATE, many of the spaces reuse materials as much as possible – whether these be the seats or sofas in SKATE Lounge, the shelves in SKATE Exchange or even the wooden sub floor the ice rink sits on. The rubber floors in the SKATE Exchange are reused each year with the changing benches made from recycled plastics. All of the plywood and timber we used to build the rink is FSC certified. 

Our tree is sourced locally from Littlefield Christmas Tree and Apple Farm in Harpenden in the UK. After SKATE, our tree is composted and then delivered to local farmers, near where the tree was grown, for use in their fields. 


In addition to the low carbon energy sources that we use around the site, we use an electric-powered ice resurfacing machine. We operate an infra-red system for monitoring the temperature of the ice that enables us to control the ice with greater accuracy and help reduce energy demand, particularly overnight.   


In order to help reduce the amount of water required to maintain our ice across the season, we treat the water using reverse osmosis, using specialist equipment to remove salts and minerals from the water before it is used on the ice rink; this helps to prevent ice loss during heavy skating sessions and uses less water day-to-day.  


This season, SKATE has partnered with Shelter Boutique to host a pop-up store supported by HSBC UK. For a more sustainable gift or personal treat, visitors can browse a handpicked selection of pre-loved vintage, designer, and quality high-street clothing at a fraction of the original price with all proceeds from sales donated to Shelter charity. 


Sustainability practices are an important consideration in relation to all the partners and suppliers we work with.  

Caterers are contractually obliged to follow our guidelines on best practice for all operations and activations on site at Somerset House. This covers a range of areas including no single use plastic, waste management and reuse of materials.