Global engineering company Siemens has been selected by the Victorian Government’s Greener Government Buildings program to bring energy efficiency and environmental sustainability to Museums Victoria, Australia’s largest public museums organisation.

Siemens’ technologies are expected to achieve the desired efficiencies at the Melbourne Museum, the World-Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building (built in 1880), Scienceworks, the Immigration Museum and two storage facilities.

Museums Victoria’s sustainability efforts will be enhanced through the installation of new LED lighting, chillers and water systems. Additionally, a co-generation unit on the roof of the 80,000-square-metre Melbourne Museum will enable Museums Victoria to produce its own cleaner energy supplies.

The energy management partnership between Siemens and the Victorian Government will see Museums Victoria reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35 per cent, equivalent to planting 835,891 young trees or taking 6,000 cars off the road; reduce water usage by 6 per cent, equivalent to filling 102 backyard swimming pools; and reduce electricity costs by 32 per cent, sufficient for powering 1264 homes.

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

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

Museums Victoria’s CEO Ms Lynley Marshall underlined the importance of the need to continue playing a leading role in educating and informing their communities and audiences about a range of topics and issues, such as environmental sustainability. She added that Museums Victoria, together with Siemens was 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 where 400 incandescent and fluorescent lights were replaced with energy-efficient LED light fittings, Mr Rebellius said that buildings represented 40 per cent of primary energy use globally, and energy consumption in buildings was 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.

Commending the Victorian Government and Museums Victoria on the sustainability work that was setting a benchmark across Australia and the Southern Hemisphere, he added that the work done by Siemens and Museums Victoria illustrated the commitment of both organisations to advancing sustainability and green initiatives.

Under the agreement, the Victorian Government financed the upfront cost of the $11 million energy contract. Museums Victoria will repay the cost within seven years using the energy savings achieved through Siemens technologies.