1.16 Energy Conservation and Climate Control in Museums
 

Ayres Ezer Lau , Consulting Engineers
The Getty Conservation Institute

J. Marx Ayres
J. Carlos Haiad
Henry Lau
Steve Weintraub
Neville Agnew
James R. Druzik
Period of Activity: 4/88 to 4/89

Project Abstract
A team composed of a mechanical engineering fellow, experienced mechanical engineers, and conservators developed a methodology for carrying out environmental surveys/case studies that brings together the experiences which have evolved from the last 15 years of museum construction. A small number of target museums were studied intensively in this phase of the study, in order to perfect the survey methodology and to define more precisely the future development of the project. The primary mechanical engineer who served as consultant to the project is J. Marx Ayres.

Major Findings and Recommendations
What this study has shown is that with a modern heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system in a typical small museum, the least expensive relative humidity to maintain is 50% with significant cost increases resulting in trying to maintain higher and lower average humidity levels. The different energy costs associated with controlling the relative humidity within -2% to -7% are not significant within those limits, and therefore humidity control should be based upon the limitations of available equipment, combined with any unique requirements of the collection, if any. While it intuitively seemed possible that maintaining higher summer or lower winter temperatures might lead to reduced energy costs, the small temperature variations, consistent with keeping collections, staff, and patrons comfortable and happy, resulted in only 1-3% savings in the combined cooling, heating, and humidification loads. This contrasts drastically when compared with heat recovery chillers that heat recovery chillers could save 88-99% of the heating and humidification costs. Heat recovery chillers are just one of an array of possible energy-saving strategies that could have been simulated.

Primary Publications
Ayres, J. M., J. C. Haiad, and H. Lau, "Energy Conservation and Climate Control in Museums," Three Volumes, Final Report to the Getty Conservation Institute, November 22, 1988.

ABSTRACT-The art conservation and building mechanical and energy literature were surveyed to establish the state of the art in museum climate control. Several museums in Southern California were examined, and the Scott Gallery at the Huntington Library and Art Gallery in San Marino, California, was selected for detailed study and computer simulation. The building design and construction process are discussed to provide insight into the interrelationships between the various actors so that members of the museum community can determine how to avoid former operating problems.

The results of computer simulations of the Scott Gallery when located in Burbank, California; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Minneapolis, New York, and New Orleans, Louisiana, are presented. The simulations were performed using the public domain DOE-2 . New Orleans, Louisiana, are presented. The simulations were performed using the public domain DOE-2 ; Minneapolis, Minnesota New York, New York and New Orleans, Louisiana, are presented. The simulations were performed using the public domain DOE-2 ;state-of-the-art building energy analysis computer program. The peak heating and cooling load components are identified, thermal zone loads quantified, and psychometric analysis of the annual energy requirements with fixed and variable inside air temperature and relative humidity (RH) set points are presented. The 7 F dry bulb and 50% RH set point resulted in the minimum energy consumption in all five climate regions. General recommendations for the museum community and a list of recommended research projects are also presented.

Ayres, J. M., J. R. Druzik, J. C. Haiad, H. Lau, and S. Weintraub, "Energy Conservation and Climate Control in Museums: A Cost Simulation Under Various Outdoor Climates," The International Journal of Museum Management and Curatorship, Vol. 8, N 3, September 1989, pp. 299-312.

ABSTRACT-The art conservation literature, taken as a whole, presents a range of recommended temperature and relative humidity parameters for the safety of collections in museums. Yet within these ranges, no systematic analysis has ever been published on the energy costs of operation. Depending on the climate and level of control desired, these costs are shown to be either sensitive to substantial variation, or relatively insensitive.

The Scott Gallery at the Huntington Library and Art Gallery in San Marino, California was selected for detailed study of energy costs associated with recommended environmental levels for mu seums. The results of computer simulations of the Scott Gallery when located in climates corresponding to Burbank (California), Albuquerque (New Mexico), Minneapolis (Minnesota), New York (New York), and New Orleans (Louisiana), are presented. The simulations were performed using the public domain DOE-2.1C Building Energy Analysis Computer Program.

Druzik, J. R., J. M. Ayres, J. C. Haiad, and H. Lau, "Energy Implications of Humidity and Temperature Control in Museum Environments," American Chemical Society, Division of Environmental Chemistry, Miami, Florida, September 10-15, 1989.

ABSTRACT-Within the last several decades, the conservation literature has specified a number of different humidity and temperature ranges recommended for the long-term storage and display of works of artistic, cultural, and historical value. Some objects have specialized environmental requirements that can best be met by attempting to provide them with their own individual environments, but for the majority of objects there is considerable latitude within the recommended ranges. With the cost of operating a modern air conditioned building ever increasing, it becomes valuable to know where the greatest benefits can be earned from combining energy conservation with the conservation of artifacts. Our computer simulations using DOE-2.1C Building Energy Analysis Computer Program demonstrate the cost sensitivities of operating a model building, ranging from 40-60% RH and 65-75 F (10-24 C), at five diverse climates in the United States.

Ayres, J. M., H. Lau, and J. C. Haiad, "Energy Impact of Various Inside Air Temperatures and Humidities in a Museum When Located in Five U.S. Cities," Paper presented to American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Annual Meeting, St. Louis, Missouri, June 9-13, 1990.

ABSTRACT-This paper discusses the wide range of recommended temperatures and relative humidities required to protect collections in museums, and identifies the operating energy costs for the specific criteria. The Scott Gallery at the Huntington Library and Art Gallery in San Marino, California, was used to study the energy costs associated with recommended environmental levels for museums. Computer simulations of the environmental levels of the gallery when located in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Burbank, California; Minneapolis, Minnesota; New Orleans, Louisiana; and New York, New York, are presented. The simulations were performed using the DOE-2 Building Energy Analysis Computer program.The peak heating and cooling load components are identified, thermal zone loads quantified, and psychometric analysis of the annual energy requirements with fixed and variable inside air temperature and relative humidity (RH) set points are presented.

Haiad, J. C., J. R. Druzik, J. M. Ayres, and H. Lau, "Museum Environmental Requirements: A Literature Survey," Paper presented to American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers ASHRAE Annual Meeting, St. Louis, Missouri, June 9-13, 1990.

ABSTRACT-Information on special environmental requirements (humidity, temperature, lighting, and pollution) for museums is found in the art conservation literature with references in ASHRAE publications. The HVAC system designer usually receives the design criteria from the art conservators, and lacks the knowledge to challenge the criteria and to fully explain the various cost impacts. This paper surveys the latest art conservation and mechanical engineering literature.