Sustainable humidity control

5 08 2013

Sustainable humidity control

An important part of our original brief to the Design Team, and therefore a key feature of the overall building project has been sustainability – this includes not only the introduction of new green technologies, such as solar panels on the roof, and earth tubes for ventilation and ground source heat pumps underground in the adjacent park, but also thinking about biodiversity – installing another green roof on our new building, protecting existing trees, as well as taking care to procure locally sourced products where possible and meeting high recycling targets for the disposal of waste materials.

It has been standard practice for many years for museums and galleries to implement tight environmental conditions to protect their collections – partly because we could afford to do so, and also as technology developed. However, as global resources decline, all of us are having to rethink the best way forward to marry collection care principles, costs, and sustainability. To this end, our building project will remove our current air conditioning systems and replace them with carefully controlled natural ventilation, and new heating systems. Our collections will be brought together into a new storage area that takes advantage of the thermal properties of the ground slab, as well as the buffering effects of the surrounding new build and newly insulated roofing. An additional aid is the lime plaster that has been applied to the ceiling of the Collections Storage Zone, as shown in the photograph, which will provide substantial stability to the indoor relative humidity.

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