Powerhouse Museum leadership team: Powerhouse Climate Action and Sustainability Manager Carmel Reyes, First Nations consultant Dr Terri Janke,?Powerhouse Director First Nations Emily McDaniel, and Powerhouse Chief Executive Lisa Havilah. Image: MAAS/Zan Wimberley

Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum new Climate Action Plan 2022-2025 is expected to influence sustainability and climate action well beyond its immediate impact.

The plan aims for net zero carbon emissions by 2025 across its four museums and operations. 

The museum has committed to reduce total energy consumption by 20 per cent from 2018/19, achieve 90 per cent resource recovery from production and operational waste, and achieve zero increase in potable water use from 2018/19 to 2025.

As a science and technology museum, Powerhouse is in a position to influence and inspire so its climate-focused collaboration and research priorities can be expected to influence other outcomes.

It is the largest cultural infrastructure project in Australia since the Sydney Opera House and presents a massive opportunity to lead the way in embedding low carbon solutions into Powerhouse’s infrastructure, reduce its operational environmental impact, and improve responsiveness to climate, season and sustainability. 

Powerhouse chief executive Lisa Havilah said: “Taking an international leadership position on sustainability to address climate change is essential to the Powerhouse’s renewal. Sustainability is more than a requirement for Powerhouse, it is our story and responsibility.” 

It will have a dedicated curatorial role to  focus on climate change science and sustainability. 

Developed in consultation with First Nations peoples of the Country on which Powerhouse sites are located, the plan includes Caring for Country Principles

The plan includes the creation of the museum’s new flagship Powerhouse Parramatta, the revitalisation of Powerhouse Museum Ultimo, the expansion of the Powerhouse Castle Hill, a conservation management plan for Sydney Observatory, and the digitisation of the Powerhouse Collection.

Powerhouse Parramatta targets 6 Star Green Star rating, and the Powerhouse Ultimo renewal targets net zero operations. Powerhouse Castle Hill will transition to on-site solar generation by 2025. Sydney Observatory is having a conservation management plan put in place with a biodiversity assessment prioritising native plantings, diversity of species and sustainable landscaping practices.

Minister for the Arts Ben Franklin commented: “As Australia’s leading museum of innovation in applied arts and sciences, Powerhouse is uniquely placed to raise awareness and showcase the role technology, engineering, science and design can play in addressing climate change and sustainability challenges.”

Powerhouse director First Nations, Emily McDaniel said: “The Powerhouse is creating museums that reflect the knowledge, understanding and ingenuity of First Nations peoples to care for Country in ways that are inherently sustainable. This climate action plan embeds Caring for Country Principles developed by our First Nations communities as its foundation.”

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