Retallack Thompson and Other Architects<br/>
<em>Garden wall</em> 2017 (detail)<br/>
Commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne with the support of RMIT University, The Golden Age Group and The Hugh D. T. Williamson Foundation<br/>
Photo John Gollings<br/>



NGV is committed to a future in which it operates sustainably within the natural and built environments. We manage our resources to minimise environmental impacts, while maintaining public access to the State Collection and conserving it for future generations.

We seek excellence in our water, energy and waste practices to reduce consumption of resources and improve outcomes, and we actively consider ways to reduce our environmental impact across a range of our activities. NGV Annual Reports document the following operational performance measures:

  • Energy Consumption
  • Water Usage
  • Waste and Recycling
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Retallack Thompson and Other Architects
Garden wall 2017 (detail)
Commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne with the support of RMIT University, The Golden Age Group and The Hugh D. T. Williamson Foundation
Photo John Gollings

Some of our key initiatives to optimise the sustainability of our operations are:

Air Conditioning Optimisation
We minimise the number of hours we use air conditioning by taking advantage of the NGV International building’s thermal mass.

Harvesting Rainwater
We collect the rainwater from the roof of the NGV International building for use in our moats.

Efficient Equipment
We have made improvements to our plant, equipment and systems to increase our energy performance.

We have implemented a recycling program in our back-of-house and administrative areas so that more waste is recycled and less ends up in landfill.


This year, we’ve completed the NGV Energy Performance Contract, a project which has already delivered a 16% reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions. The project is part of the Victorian Government’s Greener Government Buildings Initiative to reduce energy usage in existing public buildings.

Some achievements of the NGV EPC Project are:

Energy Generation
The installation of 360 solar panels on the NGV International roof which will generate power for use at the Gallery.

Energy Savings
Upgraded light fittings at the NGV from halogen to LEDs, which use less energy and don’t have to be replaced as often.

Upgraded air conditioning filters from carbon filters to electronic ones which require less maintenance and use less energy.

Optimised set point in NGV International gallery spaces, enabling for greater flexibility in environmental conditions, leading to lower energy consumption.


NGV is constantly striving to improve the sustainability performance of its Melbourne Winter Masterpieces® exhibitions.

Commencing with Melbourne Winter Masterpieces® 2022, The Picasso Century, NGV undertook a life cycle assessment of the exhibition, calculating the exhibition’s carbon footprint. A similar assessment was completed in 2023 for Pierre Bonnard: Designed by India Mahdavi. As a result, NGV was able to gather insights which can be applied when planning future exhibitions, to reduce their residual carbon emissions.

In response to the lessons learned from the life cycle assessments, NGV staff implemented a range of changes to their practices in building operations, construction and collection management to exhibitions, including the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces® series.


Some of our initiatives to ensure a sustainable collection environment are:

New Standards
The Bizot Group made up of the world’s leading museums, revised international standards for temperature and humidity parameters for museum collections.

Bizot Green Protocol
The NGV has endorsed the Bizot Green Protocol for the State Collection and hosted a one-day round table with Council of Australian Art Museum Directors (CAAMD) members to investigate ways of implementing new standards for loans.

NGV is monitoring, researching and leading discussion around loan requirements and display conditions for art works aiming to minimise the environmental impact of maintaining the museum environment.

The NGV has a formal partnership with the Getty Conservation Institute to research artwork responses to climate fluctuations under these parameters.

Learn more about the NGV’s sustainable conservation approach