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Saturday, May 31 • 10:30am - 10:50am
(Collection Care + HVAC Session) The Road to Sustainable Environmental Management of Storage Conditions at The National Archives

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In 2006 the Collection Care Department (CCD) launched a series of initiatives that continue to inform the environmental management at The National Archives (TNA). This chain of events was the catalyst for a positive step change in environmental control, and with this a reduction in energy use.

The comprehensive climate mapping of TNA’s repositories in 2006 and the subsequent deployment of an extensive radio telemetry environmental monitoring system in 2007 provided the evidence to improve environmental conditions in storage, whilst meeting government targets for a reduction in CO2 emissions and energy use.

Given the large number of variables that influence environmental conditions in the repositories, in 2009 TNA embarked on a collaborative project with the Centre for Sustainable Heritage, University College London to create a computer model of TNA’s 3 largest repositories.

The aim of the project was to develop and deliver a computer based building energy and environment (temperature and relative humidity) simulation model of the Q1 repositories at TNA site in Kew. The purpose of the model was to examine options in maintaining an appropriate preservation environment while reducing the building energy load in line with TNA’s sustainability targets and capital investment strategy.

Sixteen different scenarios were examined using the model, from adjusting the operation of the HVAC system, to blocking windows and increasing the amount of material in storage. The model predicted that adjusting the thermostat and the humidistat set points seasonally, there was the potential to reduce energy load by an estimated 43%, while at the same time improving the quality of the preservation environment. This was considered the most favourable and feasible scenario, and was implemented in combination with weekend shutdowns of the HVAC system.

TNA’s Estates & Facilities Department (E&F), in close collaboration with the Collection Care Department upgraded and developed the HVAC and Building Management System to deliver the proposed changes. By early 2013, 3 years after the project was initiated the target of 25% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2015 was exceeded.

The close working collaboration between CCD and E&F is the cornerstone of successful environmental management of the repositories.. Evidence gathered in support of decision making for environmental management, coupled with willingness to learn new specialist’ languages, made what could have been an ineffective relationship, a very successful one.

This presentation will discuss the changes that were implemented and the evidence that were used to support them, the difficulties encountered and the outcomes of the new environmental control strategy.

avatar for Kostas Ntanos

Kostas Ntanos

Head of Conservation Research and Development, National Archives, UK
Kostas Ntanos studied Conservation of antiquities and works of art in Athens, Greece, before he completed a 3-year MA at the Royal College of Art in London in Conservation Science. He joined The National Archives in 2005 and has been Head of Conservation Research and Development since... Read More →

Saturday May 31, 2014 10:30am - 10:50am PDT
Pacific Concourse D-E