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V&A Medieval & Renaissance Galleries: A Passive Approach to Humidity Control
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The new Medieval & Renaissance Galleries employ a passive approach to environmental control. The design exploits the massive nature of the building and uses sophisticated control techniques to minimise variations in humidity in the galleries, but uses neither refrigeration nor humidification machinery to achieve its performance. The challenge was to develop a low energy system that would provide the internal environment demanded by conservation requirements. The strategy developed involves controlling ventilation on moisture content so that it only operates when helping the internal conditions. The control system constantly compares internal and external air moisture content, introducing outside air through the ventilation system only when the effect will be to change internal relative humidity so that it moves closer to its set-point. To verify this control strategy, detailed analysis was carried out to assess the conditions that would occur in the galleries throughout the year. A 30% energy reduction is achieved, compared to similar galleries, through the omission of cooling and humidification. The passive approach provides a level of control compatible with the conservation requirements of the project, it requires less capital investment in terms of mechanical equipment and leads to reductions in energy usage, running costs and carbon dioxide emissions of the galleries.
Lerpiniere, A. (2011). V&A Medieval & Renaissance Galleries: A Passive Approach to Humidity Control. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu); Texas A&M University (http://www.tamu.edu). Available electronically from