27 April 2023: With support from a partnership with ACCIONA, the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) has implemented further measures and initiatives to advance the sustainability performance of its building and collection operations.

Following a pilot sustainability project in 2022 delivered by ACCIONA, the NGV has committed to a range of operational developments including the significant increase in the re-use of exhibition design materials, an increase in Green Power, and a continued reduction in the use of plastics in retail and hospitality settings.

From building operations to the design and construction of exhibitions, the data delivered by the NGV and ACCIONA pilot project in 2022 identified the sources of carbon emissions from the Gallery’s operations. Developed for the NGV’s The Picasso Century, the project quantified the sustainability performance of the 17-week exhibition and identified how the NGV could reduce the carbon footprint of future exhibitions.

As a result of this project, the NGV has advanced a variety of operational changes with the target of further reducing the carbon footprint from its exhibition program. 

  • In exhibition design, 40% or 400sqm of walls and 50% or 1,000sqm of flooring in the NGV’s summer blockbuster Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse were re-used from previous exhibition spaces, in addition to the re-use of plinths and display cases.
  • In building operations, an innovative conservation research project (Bizot Green Protocol) to widen the temperature and humidity control parameters within the NGV Collection galleries has been extended to major lending institutions.
  • Since July 2022, the use of Green Power at NGV International has increased to 50%.
  • The NGV has increased the consolidation of artwork transportation including air and sea freight to reduce travel emissions.

The technical insight from the pilot program resulted in the NGV committing to delivering a positive impact exhibition for The Picasso Century, delivered through Australian Carbon Credit Units (National Offset program). The NGV has also supported the Heart Gardening Project’s Melbourne Pollinator Corridor, a community-driven planting initiative to support native pollinating insects. 

Tony Ellwood AM, Director, NGV said: ‘The partnership with ACCIONA has reinforced the NGV’s commitment to a sustainable future and has enabled us to deliver a data-driven approach to reducing the carbon impact of our operations.’ 

ACCIONA Energía Managing Director, Brett Wickham said that the partnership was part of promoting how the arts can lead the way as an example of a sustainable future across the state.

‘We’re very proud of how our partnership is raising awareness about how our cities and buildings can be more sustainable as part of a circular economy. 

‘As a global leader in regenerative design across all our projects, our solutions are accelerators that contribute towards the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). 

‘It’s great to have a partner in the NGV that shares similar values that can demonstrate what is possible,’ said Mr Wickham.

ACCIONA has partnered with NGV on their annual Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition since 2022. In 2023 the partnership has evolved to a year-round sustainability partnership in support of the NGV’s broader operational initiatives to reduce the carbon impact of its exhibition, building and collection operations. 

The Victorian Government has pledged that by 2025 all electricity used in Government Operations will be 100 per cent renewable as part of Victoria’s transition to net-zero pledge.