Eco nightclub set for launch in British capital

LONDON (Reuters) - Welcome to Surya -- self-styled “world’s first ecological nightclub” where cyclists and walkers get free admission to a club with dance floor so high-tech it generates its own electricity when people move on it.

Welcome to Surya -- self-styled "world's first ecological nightclub" where cyclists and walkers get free admission to a club with dance floor so high-tech it generates its own electricity when people move on it. REUTERS/Graphics

The brainchild of 35-year-old property developer Andrew Charalambous, aka Dr. Earth, Surya has its own wind turbine and solar energy system, with the plan to donate any surplus electricity to local residents.

When clubbers need a rest from strutting their stuff on the dance floor they can relieve themselves at the latest air flush, waterless urinals and low flush toilets as well as taking the opportunity to freshen up with the club’s automatic taps.

If Princes Harry and William and their aristocratic friends, who are frequently spotted at hot London nightclubs such as Boujis or Mahiki, want to attend Surya they will have to sign a pledge to work towards curbing climate change like all patrons attending the club in north London.

“Unless we stop preaching to people and use an inclusive philosophy we’re never going to create the revolution to combat climate change,” Charalambous told Reuters, explaining why he has invested one million pounds in the club.

“It’s also about creating avenues of thought. Imagine what you could achieve if big corporations adopted this kind of initiative.”

Charalambous stood as a Conservative parliamentary candidate against the late Labour MP Bernie Grant at the age of 23 and most recently backed Boris Johnson’s successful campaign this year to become London mayor.

A qualified barrister, now worth in excess of 100 million pounds, his latest business venture will recycle glass, metal, plastic and paper products used in its bar, with Charalambous promising to donate part of the club’s profits to charity.

The dance floor uses the concept of piezoelectricity, where crystals and ceramics create a charge to generate electricity.

“We estimate that if you had loads of clubbers dancing vigorously it would provide 60 percent of the club’s energy needs,” said Charalambous.

“With the wind turbines and solar power we aim to provide the energy needs of 14 to 20 local residents. We are the first free energy-donating business in the world.”

However, Charalambous’ claim that his club is the “world’s first ecological nightclub” has raised the hackles of the Sustainable Dance Club (SDC) in the Netherlands.

“They are not sustainable in our rules,” SDC spokesman Vera Verkooijenat said, ahead of the September launch of Wvatt, which has been dubbed the “world’s first sustainable dance club”.

“It’s not only the nightclub, it’s the whole organization that should be sustainable.”

But Charalambous dismissed the criticisms, arguing the SDC’s complaints were typical of the attitude of some holier-than-thou environmental activists, as he defended the idea behind Surya, the Sanskrit term for the Sun God.

“They’ve been talking about it for a while, but they haven’t done it,” said Charalambous. “They want to preach to people and that’s the wrong way go about it.”

The club, in Pentonville Road, Islington, opens later on Thursday.

Editing by Steve Addison and Paul Casciato