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The use of Eemax electric tankless water heaters helped the Carmike Majestic 12 theater in Chattanooga, Tenn., earn a LEED certification. Photo courtesy of Eemax


The Carmike Majestic 12 in Chattanooga, Tenn., recently became the first movie theater to receive LEED certification thanks to a number of green technologies, including the installation of Eemax electric tankless water heaters. The Majestic 12 is billed as the world’s first green movie theater.

Operated by Carmike Cinemas, the Majestic has 12 theaters with two capable of seating more than 400 patrons, as well as a VIP auditorium with large reclining seats and digital and 3D projection capabilities. The company, which operates 244 theaters and 2,277 movie screens in 35 states, opened its first downtown Chattanooga theater — the Bijou 7 — in 1996. 

Over the past 10 years, the downtown area, which boasts a riverfront walk and more than 20 restaurants, has continued to grow, so the need for a new theater was there. The Majestic 12 is expected to draw about 400,000 people per year (compared to the nearly 165,000 people at the Bijou). With the increase in patrons, Carmike felt it was the right time to go green.

According to the Washington-based National Association of Theater Owners, a group that represents more than 29,000 movie screens throughout the United States, environmentally conscious theater construction is a growing trend. To be profitable and successful, theaters are becoming more sustainable by conserving water and enhancing indoor air quality. At the new Majestic 12, green features include the Eemax electric tankless water heaters in the restrooms, as well as rainwater usage in restrooms and for landscaping. A white roof reflects solar heat, saving on cooling costs. The theater also features an open design with an all-glass front.

Majestic 12 builders understood they would need to place a stronger focus on how to best incorporate the latest in water-saving technology. The building has a water-reclamation system which collects rain and condensation from the rooftop mechanical units and low-flow toilets. The Eemax electric tankless water heaters provide instant hot water with their point-of-use installation. There is no standby heat loss and no large storage is required to provide around-the-clock heat. 

 Today, the theater states it uses 35% less energy than similar-sized venues, resulting in a savings of about $15,000 per year in electrical use. With constant environmental challenges and concerns facing the planet, the Majestic 12 expects the steps taken to be environmentally aware will encourage other business owners and developers to build progressive new structures that are increasingly green.