A Review of the Physics and the Building Science which Underpins Methods of Low Energy Storage of Museum and Archive Collections

Tim Padfield, Morten Ryhl-Svendsen, Poul Klenz Larsen, Lars Aasbjerg Jensen

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Abstract

The need to keep things cool for durability should be the single most powerful influence on storage design. The simplest temperature control is to moderate the outside temperature by a combination of thermal insulation and heat capacity. The low energy storage building is a lightweight, thermally insulated, airtight building put on top of an uninsulated floor slab laid directly on the ground. The thermal insulation is calculated to even out the daily temperature cycle but to allow an annual temperature cycle which is about half the amplitude, but much smoother, than the annual temperature cycle outside. The winter temperature inside will nearly always be above ambient and so will maintain a moderate RH without need for either humidification or dehumidification. The temperature inside in summer will be below ambient and thus will force dehumidification of the infiltrating air. However, the airtightness of the building allows intermittent dehumidification with low energy consumption, less than one kWh/m3 per year. There now exist enough buildings designed on this principle to reassure curators that highly valued collections can be stored in a space with a gentle temperature cycle and with an RH stability as good as air-conditioning usually achieves.
Original languageEnglish
JournalStudies in Conservation
Volume63
Issue numberS1
Pages (from-to)209-215
ISSN0039-3630
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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