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New energy partnership drives green museum project

March 2, 2017

Museums Victoria, Australia’s largest public museums organisation, is turning green through an innovative energy management partnership with Siemens and the Victorian Government.

The partnership will see Museums Victoria:

  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35% – as much as planting 835,891 young trees or taking 6,000 cars off the road
  • reduce water usage by 6% – equivalent to the capacity of 102 backyard swimming pools
  • reduce utility costs by 32% – enough to power 1264 homes

The Victorian Government’s Greener Government Buildings program selected global engineering company Siemens to bring the latest state of the art energy and environmental efficiency technology to Melbourne Museum, the World-Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building (built in 1880), Scienceworks, the Immigration Museum and two storage facilities.

"Museums Victoria, together with Siemens is now making a significant contribution to energy efficiency and environmental sustainability for future generations."

Lynley Marshall - CEO, Museums Victoria

The initiative will improve Museums Victoria’s sustainability efforts through the installation of new LED lighting, chillers and water systems. In addition, a co-generation unit on the roof of the 80,000 m2 Melbourne Museum will enable Museums Victoria to produce its own cleaner energy supplies.

Museums Victoria not only cares for a diverse collection of 17 million objects and specimens including rare books and documents and fossils that are millions of years old but carries out ground breaking scientific and humanities research and stages a diverse range of exhibitions and events. And digital technology is a key tool that is used by staff and audiences across the organisation’s sites.

Nearly 2.5 million people visit Museums Victoria’s venues each year.

The energy management program includes the installation of a new building management system to ensure energy, heating and lighting are used more efficiently.

"We all know that museums help us to learn from the past so we can work towards preserving the future," Museums Victoria’s CEO Ms Lynley Marshall said. "It’s important that we continue to play a leading role to educate and inform our communities and audiences about a range of topics and issues, such as environmental sustainability."

"Museums Victoria, together with Siemens is now making a significant contribution to energy efficiency and environmental sustainability for future generations."

The Switzerland-based CEO of Siemens Building Technologies, Mr Matthias Rebellius, said the partnership was an inspirational example of how an organisation such as Museums Victoria could work with a global engineering company and the Victorian Government to create greener buildings.

Speaking at the Royal Exhibition Building today where 400 incandescent and fluorescent lights have been replaced with energy efficient LED light fittings Mr Rebellius said:

"Buildings represent 40% of primary energy use globally, and energy consumption in buildings is projected to rise sustainably. A holistic review of sustainability initiatives by any government will have to consider rising operating costs and the impact of buildings on the environment."

"I commend the Victorian Government and Museums Victoria on the sustainability work that is a benchmark not just in the state, but also in Australia and across the Southern Hemisphere. The work done by Siemens and Museums Victoria illustrates the commitment of both organisations to advancing sustainability and green initiatives – in an environment where millions of visitors come to enjoy and learn of the past, present and the future."

Under the agreement, the Victorian Government financed the up-front cost of the $11 million energy contract. Museums Victoria will repay the cost within seven years using the energy savings that are achieved by the Siemens works.