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Episode 2 – Making Your Events More Sustainable


In this episode, Kevin and Tim discuss sustainable events with Michelle Fox, the founder of MUSE (Members United for Sustainable Events). They explore the triple bottom line of sustainability and the benefits of making events more sustainable. They also discuss the role of power banks in making events greener and how POWR2 and MUSE intersect in the sustainability and energy space. The conversation covers topics such as remote settings, evaluating ROI, and the impact of location and climate on battery performance. The episode concludes with a discussion on how to get involved with MUSE and the future of the organization.


  • Sustainable events provide a better user experience, save on costs, and have a positive impact on the environment.
  • Sustainability in events is about conserving the natural environment, encouraging a healthy and inclusive society, and supporting a robust economy.
  • POWRBANKS can make events more sustainable – reducing the use of generators and lowering CO2 emissions.
  • Membership in MUSE provides access to resources and a sustainable supplier directory to help event professionals make more sustainable choices.


  • Visit MUSE at MUSEUSA.org
  • Guest: Michele Fox, Founder of MUSE
  • Follow us on LinkedIn at POWR2

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Any statements or views expressed by the hosts or guests on Leading the Charge are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of POWR2.



Kevin Sturmer 0:01
This is leading the charge where we talk innovation and insights in the industry of sustainable energy. Leading the charge is brought to you by power to a global provider of energy storage solutions. Let’s simplify sustainability. And now from the power to studio, and broadcasting everywhere from leading the charge.io, here are your hosts, Tim Doling, and Kevin Sturmer.

Welcome to leading the charge where we talk battery energy storage, insights, innovation and the industry of sustainable energy. My name is Kevin, and I work in the marketing department of a company called power to with me is my co host, the fantastic Tim doling, he is the Director of Innovation here at power two. Hey, Tim, how you doing?

Tim Doling 0:46
Doing well, Kevin. Happy to be here as always.

Kevin Sturmer 0:49
Today, we are talking about how to make your events more sustainable. We’re lucky enough to be joined by the founder of MUSE, Michelle Fox. And for those not familiar with MUSE, it stands for Members United for Sustainable Events. It’s a membership organization, providing leadership for sustainable event management. And they do that through education and inspiration and community building across the event industry. Now, before we get into all of the things about muse, we want to back up, and I want to get to know Michelle, thank you for being here. How are you doing?

Michele Fox 1:24
I’m doing great. Thank you for asking, and thank you for such a wonderful description of MUSE. I appreciate that.

Kevin Sturmer 1:31
It is great to have you here. And you’ve been in the event industry for quite some time. Now. How did you get started in it? What do you love about events? And then what inspired you to form MUSE?

Michele Fox 1:44
Sure. So I got into the event industry, the way a lot of people get into the event industry just by kind of happenstance. Right. So I think some people come into the event industry from a technical background. And some people you know, like if you do AV and lighting, you might also come in from, like maybe the music industry, I kind of came in through a combination of those things. I actually was a theater major. But I and and you know, when we do events, that is really the same as theater, right? And then from the sustainability perspective, I’ve always been an environmentalist. And I’ve been an environmental activist as well. And in 2019, I really realized these two worlds of mine could come together. And then of course, we all know what happened in March of 2020. Well, I’ll just say we all kind of took a break from the event industry for a little while. And during that time, I tripled down into sustainability. And I actually founded MUSE in the summer of 2021. So that is the background. And like you said, so well we center ourselves around education, we do community building, and we inspire people by talking about what we can do, like for example, what you guys do, providing sustainable power for events. So that is my story.

Kevin Sturmer 3:27
And I love that story. It’s always that unique mix of perspective and experiences that bring us in our individual lives to where we are. Now I’m also a theatre person I have composed the scores for a couple of musicals and was on a national tour. So I understand what you’re saying about storytelling, and how to connect with an audience on an emotional level. And I can hear that come through, that emotion comes through when you’re talking about sustainability. And there was one quote on the MUSE website, it was on the mission page, and it stuck with me. And for those who don’t know, it’s MUSEUSA.org is the website. But here’s the quote, “Sustainable Event Management is taking action towards conserving our natural environment, encouraging a healthy and inclusive society and supporting a robust economy.” Now, when you hear that quote, Michelle, what does that mean to you?

Michele Fox 4:22
That’s a great question. So we call that the triple bottom line. People, planet, profit. So we always want to hit that triple bottom line, as as much as possible because it’s best for you know, our businesses, it’s best for people and it’s best for the planet. So we can try to do all those things and sustainability. You know, a lot of people we think of it as the environment, and it is, but it’s also about like diversity and inclusion. It’s about supporting local economy, small businesses. And you know, we really feel good when we do that. It’s a good feeling. But that’s that circular economy again, which is a big theme in sustainability, how can we be more economical? How can we use the resources that we’re using in the best possible way, which dovetails into what POWR2 does.

Kevin Sturmer 5:23
I love that triple bottom line, and you’re right, POWR2 and MUSE do have that connection, and they sort of intersect at the connection of sustainability, and energy. But MUSE actually has a wide variety of sustainable pillars, that it covers everything from waste management, to recycling to water management, is there, is there one event that really sticks in your mind as special or that had a significant impact on sustainability?

Michele Fox 5:54
Yeah, I mean, I just recently worked on an event. And it was a, a user conference for 500 people in New York, and we embedded sustainability into every aspect of this event. So we hired a printer that had a certification, it was called the sustainable printing partnership. And so not only was it about, like, the actual printed pieces that they made, and the branding pieces, but also their, their whole facility in New Jersey, like runs on solar, like, you know, they have solar panels, and they utilize all these things like to save water in the way that they make these things, you know, and so in our supply chain, we embedded sustainability. At the event, we had a very sustainable caterer who will, you know, also by their, their supply chain is sustainable, and that the, you know, the local butcher and the, where they might get their vegetables and their food might be from local farms, right. We also did a really great job of waste diversion at the event, all the organics were sent to compost. We had like hard to recycle items, like the soft plastics and certain things that were sent to a another facility to get recycled. Um, you know, we thought through everything, like the badges, how can we, you know, reuse those lanyards? We actually, the fabricated elements got donated to local arts organizations. So those, you know, did not go in the landfill. And actually, donation is higher on that waste hierarchy than recycling. So we want to, again, reuse as much as possible.

Kevin Sturmer 7:56
Yes, that’s it. It’s that shift in mindset from a single use mentality to how can we make this last? How can we use this again, and put it back into the world and it sounds like every decision you made along that project was driven by your vision, and it’s very similar to what we do here at POWR2, it’s we have a vision of a world powered by sustainable energy. And each decision, each innovation that we make is driven by that vision. So Tim, talking about that, how can power to and specifically, how can our power banks help make events more sustainable?

Tim Doling 8:35
Absolutely. Thanks, Kevin. And, Michelle, I just gotta say, some of those things you’ve already said are so inspiring, just using that break from events during COVID to double down on sustainability and learn more and involve more people. It’s fantastic. And then what was it the triple bottom line? That’s, that’s fantastic. People planet profit, just love that. And those are all things that I want to use in the future. So thanks for sharing that. As far as batteries and events. So we started out with batteries and focused on rental companies, right. So we were thinking more construction and those type of applications. But quickly, we realized through the rental companies that these were being used in events. So one of the first uses of our product were actually in a golf tournament. It was the Byron Nelson PGA golf tournament just north of Dallas, Texas. And they had a concession stand right out in the middle of the golf course. So clearly needed temporary power. And usually they would run a generator. You’re pairing up fridges, freezers, menu, signboards, the point of sale system and everything so they would have to run a generator constantly for that and it’s not ideal because you got people walking by, you got film and TV crews walking by, and you’ve got the sound and the smell and the fumes of the generator. So they put a battery in there and switch the generator off completely during the playing time. and that sort of basically lit a light bulb in my head. This is perfect for events, not just for user experience, but then also for the sustainability side. So the ability to run off a battery allows you to harvest renewable energy. So you could put solar out there, they didn’t use solar at this event, but it did open that possibility. And it really, we went from there and saw that these batteries can be used at events to offset where the generators used, and allow the harvesting of solar energy. So it really is a perfect application.

Michele Fox 10:30
Yeah, and I’d love to just like back up what you said. So one of the first interviews that I did was a company that did kind of like solar power and battery powered generators in California. And he said the same things you said, with, it’s a better experience for the attendees, they’re not hearing that loud, you know, diesel power generator. It’s much safer for your employees and the staff, they’re not breathing in those fumes all day. People get headaches, there are serious side effects to breathing in diesel fumes all day long. And also, like you said, just that noise, heater, really funny story about those, you can do like a lot of work light that is that is run by solar or battery, right. And usually everybody would like be so far away from that work light they didn’t want to be around it. But then once it went to like this other kind of power, everybody was hanging out by the light, you know, and because it was not loud and disgusting. And I think we always need to think of things being sustainable as being better, right? It’s better, like LED are better than the lights we used to use in events, which were you so much electricity, which were hot LED lights are you can change the color, you don’t have to get up on a ladder and put a gel in. I mean, how much better is that you can just do it from your iPad and like go, we want this room or blue or more amber. And you can like move these little battery powered lights around anywhere you want them, oh, let’s move the uplight over there. No problem. I just love it. So we always can do better when we go more sustainable.

Tim Doling 12:27
Absolutely. And that’s part of the educational process. Because people don’t understand that at this point. They always think of sustainability as maybe costing more or being more cumbersome. But it actually is a better way. It’s more seamless. It’s better for the people. It’s better, as you say, people planet profit, it really is all there. So there’s an event that I often attend just with my family, and there’s a boardwalk. And there’s multiple speakers and concession stands. And they’re always running off generators. And there’s really, really loud and it just ruins the user experience because you can’t hear the commentators and things and, and so I’ve been speaking to them about putting batteries there instead, and they’re super interested in we’ll see what this year brings. But I really do think it’s a better way.

Michele Fox 13:06
Well I always do the same thing like now whenever I go by any kind of like, generator, that’s diesel run, I’m like, Oh, they need the other kind. Like this is, you know, if you’re just walking through New York, you always see events happening or Long Island or any event you go to it’s like, you’re like, Oh, that’s not how you do it.

Tim Doling 13:26
Exactly. And you’re asking why? Why aren’t they doing it? And it really often comes down to just education and getting the word out there.

Michele Fox 13:32
100% Yeah, that’s why we’re doing this podcast. I mean, it’s about the one of the things about MUSE is education, right, we need to educate people on these options.

Kevin Sturmer 13:41
Absolutely. And there are a lot of options, sort of like the options we have for our POWRBANK MAX. Yes, we can hook up in a hybrid setup where we’re, we’re connected to a generator, but we can also set up a power bank where it becomes 100% emission free. And that’s, you know, connected to something like a solar array. Tim, can you talk a little bit about what that emission free setup might look like?

Tim Doling 14:06
Yeah, I mean, it has been use cases where the ability as long as the user has the space, right, they can put a large solar array in place and just run the batteries off solar. So that is definitely possible. The limitations of solar, obviously, is you get a cloudy day, you’re not going to get production of energy. If you don’t have enough space, you may not be able to put the array of the size you need out there. But if the stars align and the space is there and the climate is such, absolutely you can you can run off solar. And even if you do have some limiting factors, solar can partially offset the generator if not fully,

Kevin Sturmer 14:42
Yes, and a lot of savings to be had savings on co2 emission savings on fuel. You’re cutting down on generator maintenance. And there are other applications for power banks as well that come they came to mind. I was reading the MUSE website, you know, events. I got to thinking of something like a destination wedding. So Tim, can you talk a little bit about how a POWRBANK might work in a remote setting. So really removed from power and also a little bit about the remote access capability as well?

Tim Doling 15:12
Absolutely. So we’ve done it some community events, that is just small scale community events that lasts for a limited period of time, say, they’re just on a Saturday afternoon. We’ve done it as some 5k charity runs and that type of thing, where you can have the power bank fully charged, you take it out to site, so you tow it behind a pickup truck, very easy, and you connect it to whatever they want to power. So typically, it’s it’s a sound system, amplifiers, microphones, BB seven lights and that type of thing. And it can easily power that for the four hour stretch without needing any generators or any other power source. And you just pack it up and turn it back to base when you’re done. And it’s perfectly clean power, emission free, noise free. And it’s just excellent for those types of events that are short scale. So you know, ahead of time, what you need the power and the duration, and you can size the battery accordingly. So that’s a really good application, and it provides an amazing user experience. And is, is also cost effective, because you have no fuel, no moving parts, nothing really to go wrong.

Kevin Sturmer 16:16
Yes, yes. And the reliability factor is huge. It’s something that somebody can rely on for a long time. And these batteries last a long time, I mean, with no fuel, and no moving parts, is very little to no maintenance. And so if you’re an event planner, and you like what you’re hearing here, you might want to consider joining MUSE, there are a lot of notable members already in the Muse membership organization, and it’s a great place to share best practices and continue the education on making events more sustainable. Michelle, can you talk a little bit about, you know, how someone can get involved in MUSEand the different membership levels?

Michele Fox 16:59
Yeah, so MUSE is really perfect for anybody in the ecosystem of events. And I kind of say, in the United States, so something that was really important to me, there was another organization that was global, a similar organization, but I thought, you know, the United States is big enough, right. And we do have different infrastructure, but it’s similar. You know, we have enough time zones. Here, we have four time zones in the United States. And so, you know, I thought, well, let’s just do so for people in the United States. All you have to do is go to MUSEUSA.org, our website, and there’s a join page. And it’s as simple as clicking a couple buttons. There’s only two membership options. It’s super simple. Like, if you have a venue, if you’ve got an event agency, if you’re in catering, if you’re in AV and production, you know, what’s nice is that you’re not going to feel kind of like alone in the I work, I love sustainability. And I want to be more sustainable my events, you’re going to feel more empowered, you’re going to feel like you have all these, like opportunities and people to learn from. But there’s also a great member benefit. And it’s the supplier directory, there’s a sustainable supplier directory. And it currently has almost 700, suppliers across 25 categories. So the categories could be swag, it could be, you know, I’m looking for a compost company where I’m doing this event, you know, I’m doing an event in Kentucky, or Illinois, or wherever you’re doing your event, you’re going to be able to come up with suppliers that are local. And also like, national ones to like, I just found a, you know, we always talk about like our swag and our printing. And, you know, sometimes we really need to do t shirts for an event, whether it’s a giveaway, or the staff is wearing them. And I found like a sustainable screen printer. And they have that certification. They’re the only one in the US. So it’s like, I found these things for you. And I think it should make it easier for people. That is one of the things about me is is we shouldn’t have to, you know, worked so hard to try to find all these suppliers. If you just use sustainable suppliers, your event will be a lot more sustainable. So it’s kind of hard sometimes when you’ve used a supplier for so long to go to a new one. But you could start maybe one event and one supplier at a time.

Kevin Sturmer 19:41
I love that. And our whole tagline here at POWR2 is you know how we can simplify sustainability. And that sounds like exactly what you’re doing at MUSE and I like the whole mind share best practices philosophy because when you’re when you’re working with a team then a lot of people can have a lot of great individual ideas, but it’s when we start building on each other’s ideas and growing. And that’s when we get to a place that is so much greater than anybody could have individually created. And that’s what you’re doing with MUSE. So one last question, what’s next for you? And for MUSE? What’s what’s coming up?

Michele Fox 20:22
Oh, that’s a good question. Um, I think it’s just trying to, I would love to get out to as many people as I can. So I think, you know, that’s one little challenge. And I know you’re, you’re doing the same thing. It’s like you want as many people to know about the opportunity to use your product as possible. And same with MUSE. So thank you for having me on this podcast, because I do think that, you know, it’ll help other people learn about MUSE and learn about sustainable events. And so I think that it’s just more of doing the same of what we’re doing, because I spend my days like trying to connect with new people, trying to look up new suppliers and trying to get more education out there. So there is a greater MUSE community, you can actually we do have Speaker Series, you do not need to be a member, if you follow us on LinkedIn. Or if you go to the MUSE website, you know, and sign up for our mailing list, you’ll get information about that. And there’s also a huge amount of interviews and articles that are on the MUSE website that anyone can read, I always say you could just start there. Fantastic.

Kevin Sturmer 21:34
And we’ll have all the links in the show notes. And once again, that’s MUSEUSA.org. Now we end each episode of leading the charge with our Director of Innovation, Tim, answering the questions, some of the questions that we get most often here at power two. So Tim, here we go. What impact does location and climate have on the performance of a battery energy storage system, location

Tim Doling 22:00
and climate yet? So really comes back to what we’ve talked about earlier as to the ability to harvest renewables. So what is your cloud coverage? What is your daylight hours, the amount of sun you’re going to get? So how much can you expect to harvest solar power, particularly, but also then wind power, so that is really your first consideration. So if you’re going to have lots of cloudy, you’re gonna have snow that’s going to cover solar panels, you really got to consider that the ability to get renewables. And then secondly, to that is your temperature range. So, batteries are a little bit sensitive to either very, very high temperatures or very, very low temperatures, we do mitigate that to a certain extent with the enclosures we put them in that are climate controlled. But then you do have to consider that if it’s going to be used in the extreme heat or extreme cold, how you package the batteries and how you use them. So that’s what I would say about the location and climate.

Kevin Sturmer 22:58
Okay, thank you. And next question, how can businesses evaluate the return on investment, the ROI of something like a power bank.

Tim Doling 23:06
So typically, they’ve the businesses we deal with anyway, have used generators on events before. So they know the typical cost base of using just a generator alone, what the fuel costs are going to be, what the servicing is going to be, and all the associated costs that go along with it. So it’s easy for them to plug a battery into that scenario and see what the reduction in runtime is going to be and work out ROI analysis based on that. So it’s type of thing we can help with, with various calculators and online tools. But it’s also very easy for people to do as well. And there’s a couple of event planners, particularly in Europe that do this for a living where they actually look at the event as a whole. And they break it down into different power sectors in the event and see how batteries are going to offset or completely eliminate generators. And they have a very nice calculator that just shows all that return on investment. So we can either help with that point people in the right direction, or show them how to do it themselves.

Kevin Sturmer 24:04
And on a related topic, we have one final question, can energy storage systems be remotely controlled?

Tim Doling 24:10
That’s great question. I can’t say blanket overall, yes, they can. But I can say that ours can. So we can log in remotely two hours, they are controlled by a SIM cards the same as your cell phone. So they’re sending data constantly to the cloud. And we can see either in real time or in retrospect via our reporting software, what impact they’re having, as far as reducing the generator and time saving co2 emission saving fuel usage. So that can be downloaded via a report at the end of the event. Or if it’s an ongoing situation like a construction site, we can download that weekly, bi weekly, monthly, quarterly, or whatever the stakeholders or shareholders want to see it So absolutely, we can monitor it remotely. And then secondary to that if there’s any problems on site, if anything should crop up. We have engineers that can log in, look at the machine In, in real time as if they were standing in front of it, so you’re not spending the emissions and time and energy to go out to site, you’re actually looking at it remotely. So it’s a really nice function to have on any battery energy storage system.

Kevin Sturmer 25:11
Wonderful. Thank you, Tim. And a big thank you to Michelle Fox, the founder of MUSE for joining us today.

Michele Fox 25:18
Thank you so much.

Tim Doling 25:18
Yeah, thank you, Michelle. I’m definitely heading over to MUSE to have a look at the website there.

Kevin Sturmer 25:23
Be sure to check out MUSEUSA.org for all of the details and whatever platform you’re on, hit the like button, the subscribe button, leave a review for leading the charge that really helps. And again, all the links will be in the shownotes below or you can always head over to LeadingtheCharge.io. Finally, we know that one of the greatest gifts in life is time and we appreciate you spending a little bit of your time with us. So let’s keep simplifying sustainability and leading the charge toward a world powered by sustainable energy. See you next time.

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