Skip to content

CO2 White Paper

CO2 Production in Cinema Advertising

Sources of CO2 production

  • Projection: The cinema advertising content is projected by the cinema’s xenon or laser projector and the sound is amplified by an array of amplifiers and speakers. This is the main component of energy usage. We calculate the total energy by multiplying the spot length with the total # sessions in a week.
  • Cinema HVAC: In our view, there is no cinema HVAC (heating/cooling) that can be exclusively assigned to the advertising. There is a movie session every 2-3 hours, and the HVAC is typically not switched off in between sessions.
  • Spot Production & Transfer: The energy used for the creation of cinema spot and the file transfer is so small that it can be mostly ignored. Projection consumption is at least 50x higher than spot production and transfer.

Cinema CO2 Calculator

The tCO2e production for a campaign can be estimated as follows:


tCO2e = [spot length] * [# sessions] * [projector consumption (kWh)] * [emission rate(g/kWh)]

  • Spot Length: The spot length in seconds. A spot of 60 seconds uses 2x the energy of a 30 sec spot.
  • Number of sessions: This is calculated as [# cinema screens] x [average weekly sessions/screen] x [# weeks that the campaign runs]. The # screens is 320 for the cinemas in the Brightfish network1. A cinema can theoretically run 4 sessions per day on a screen, which would amount to 28 sessions per week, but in practice it is closer to 22 sessions/week. So the number to keep in mind is 7040 sessions per week.
  • Projector Consumption: This varies with projector size (lumen) and technology (xenon lamps or laser). There are e.g. 1.5KW and 5KW projectors2. We’ve estimated the average KW for a projector to be around 3KW. This is a number that should be reassessed every year as older projectors are replaced by newer ones and the average might change.
  • Emission rate: This depends on how electricity is produced in each country: gas, coal, nuclear and renewable. “In 2022 the average emissions of Belgium were 131 g CO2eq/kWh. 25% of energy was produced from renewable sources, with the main source for energy being Nuclear (52.0%).3

Typical campaign

A 1-week campaign of 30 seconds, running on 320 screens, with an average projector power of 3KW will use 176KWh, which is equivalent with 0.0229 ton of CO2

Author: Peter Forret - - for CommToZero

  1. The total number of Belgian cinemas that run advertising is estimated to be 389. 

  2. and