Our green-roofed greenhouse

Our green-roofed greenhouse

Our green-roofed greenhouse

Volunteers building a new compost bay

Volunteers building a new compost bay

Volunteers building a new compost bay

The Garden Museum Flower Cart

The Garden Museum Flower Cart

The Garden Museum Flower Cart


At the Garden Museum we are aware of the impact museums have on the environment. Therefore, we are committed to continual improvement in reducing our organisation’s carbon footprint. We seek to demonstrate that sustainability should be integral to the operation of any successful museum and are working on new ways to engage our visitors with our sustainable values. 

These are some of the things we care about:

Energy:  The Garden Museum seeks to minimise consumption of non-renewable energy sources and to continually research alternative sources and technologies to reduce consumption of energy.  For example, we recently switched to using low-energy lighting. Meanwhile, sustainability is embedded in our Development Project, which includes the installation of photovoltaic panels. Find out more about the Development Project below.

Waste: The Garden Museum works to minimise the waste it generates and the associated impacts by seeking opportunities to reduce, reuse, recycle and ultimately recover waste produced. Over the last three years, we have become a Zero Waste to Landfill museum meaning we recycle and compost about 80% of the Garden Café’s raw food waste, sending the remaining materials to an energy from waste facility. We have also re-thought the future of our temporary displays and an important part of our exhibition waste is now reused by partner organisations. Additionally, we are a member of the Museum Freecycle Uk Network.

Water: The Garden Museum seeks to minimise consumption of supplied water and is investigating options for the capture and use of rainwater — or grey water where practical — for use in our gardens.

Cafe: Our vegetarian café uses organic and sustainable seasonal produce along with Fair Trade items. Have a look at the Garden Café Sustainability Board here.

Shop and retail events: We organise two sustainable design fairs every year: Diggin’ Design and Summer Tumblr. These events showcase a wide range of environmentally friendly products and support local makers and producers. Further, our shop stocks predominantly UK suppliers and craftspeople.

Gardening:  Thanks to a number of supporters, we have been able to run gardening projects and implement strategies to improve our sustainability. The Western Riverside Environmental Fund enabled the building of a green-roofed greenhouse onsite. Our Flower Cart, funded by the Happy Museum Project, promote the use of sustainable flowers.  And, thanks to the support of EDF London Eye/VMG Community Chest fund we are now engaging volunteers with growing food in urban spaces. 

Sustainability in Heritage Traineeship

The Garden Museum set up the Sustainability in Heritage Traineeship Programme in 2011. This four year project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund 'Skills for the Future' scheme is the first of its kind in museums. We are excited at the thought that by 2015 four individuals trained in sustainability in heritage settings will be applying skills and sharing ideas across the country. The Garden Museum Sustainability in Heritage Traineeship won the Museums + Heritage Sustainability Award 2012. Learn more about the programme here.


Garden Museum Development

The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £3.5 million to the Garden Museum for our Development Project. This exciting project will restore, upgrade and extend the ancient church of St Mary at Lambeth, creating facilities to establish it as the national museum of gardens and gardening. These are some of the improvements that the project will entail:

Carbon Footprint: The Museum is committed to minimising the environmental impact of the project through efficient design, procurement and handover of the project. A Footprint Report analysing the use of utilities and visitor travel demonstrates that the footprint per visitor and per square metre will reduce significantly as a result of the project. Photovoltaic panels will generate electricity to meet our carbon emission target by offsetting against electricity acquired from the National Grid.

A detailed strategy is included in OR's M+E Stage D report, which highlights the following areas for consideration:

(i) reusing and recycling existing resources, including furniture, data points and containment and equipment

(ii) designing to reduce environmental impact by specifying material and equipment from sustainable sources that are suitable for reuse and recycling

(iii) designing to minimise energy and water consumption through a mean, lean and green approach, such as improving thermal performance and installing green roofs

(iv) managing environmental risks during design and construction process

(v) implementing a site waste management plan

Education: A variety of displays on the ground-floor will include activity carts to engage visitors with environmental issues and demonstrate the museum’s commitment to sustainability.

Biodiversity: The new garden will be designed by Dan Pearson, a world leader in biodiversity-responsive garden design. The garden will be rich in biodiversity; a variety of mixed planting and an abundance of nectar rich, free-flowering and free-fruiting plants will support a wide range of wildlife. Plants will be chosen to support an increased flowering season which will benefit visitors and wildlife alike.


Operation Green Museums: The Operation Green Museums group, founded at the Garden Museum in January 2012, is united by the belief that museums have an innate responsibility to have a positive impact on the environment, society and the economic system. As keepers of the nation’s cultural heritage, museums also have a responsibility to inspire, motivate and lead society towards a sustainable future. Find out more at https://sustainabilityofheritage.wordpress.com/

Sustainable Exhibitions for Museums: The Garden Museum is a member of Sustainable Exhibitions for Museums, a network for museum and gallery professionals interested in improving sustainability within the sector. Find out more at www.sustainable-exhibitions.co.uk


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