Historical Buildings & Museums
Many historical buildings are listed due to their significance, which means that there is a limited amount of work that can be done to them in order to significantly improve ventilation, improve the indoor air quality, and overall energy efficiency.
However, appropriate solutions should be sought as “buildings must be better adapted as a matter of urgency to facilitate the reduction of disease transmission resulting from inappropriate or inadequate ventilation. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed areas requiring urgent development to protect both our health, wellbeing and the economy by providing safe indoor environments for employees or students” (Lipinkski et al., 2020).
Ineffective ventilation systems
A key problem which historical buildings may face is that many of them use a centralised HVAC approach. When they do have mechanical HVAC systems in place, airborne microbes and viral aerosol are allowed to spread throughout the building, which causes many people to get ill.
Low air changes
Most historical buildings have a real problem with the bio-load in the air as there is limited circulation and dangerously low air change rate. As time passes in occupied spaces, the number of pollutants in the air has increases, this can contribute to poor air quality inside any building, especially those with poor ventilation or even no ventilation.
Sick Building Syndrome (SBS)
Microbes are able to stay airborne, uninterrupted, which in combination with poor ventilation can leads to a significant increase in Sick Building Syndrome (SBS).
“The World Health Organization now estimates that 30% of new or remodelled office buildings show signs of SBS, and that between 10% and 30% of the occupants of these buildings are affected by SBS.” (Lyles et al., 1991).
With even more buildings having HVAC systems than ever, the presence of SBS is only increasing, as air is often recirculated throughout the building.
Museums, galleries, historical buildings and libraries often contain vast quantities of valuable artefacts, books and materials where microorganisms can live and grow due to the minerals found in the paper and other materials. Over 234 species of microbes have been found on the books in libraries and museums.
As professional engineers, scientists and medics, we are able to assess your building configuration, engineering infrastructure, occupancy use and risks. We then will model and engineer a bespoke solution to suit your asset and user requirements, through the use of:
- Better ventilation air flows, distribution and filtration.
- In-duct GUV devices in HVAC systems – One way to counteract the spreading of health and artifact degrading pathogens is with efficient air circulation systems that are fitted with UV-C devices in order to kill any airborne microbes while the air is recirculated through the system.
- Upper Room GUV systems – these can be put in place to reduce localised spreading of the diseases in key locations, such as in entrances and hallways, where microorganisms can be brought inside by staff, students or visitors. These systems, when correctly specified, will be able to massively reduce the transmission rate of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
- Direct UV-C surface disinfection – In areas of particular surface hazard, and need for total disinfection, use UV-C on those artefacts surface. This sort of activity should be undertaken to failsafe against human contact, so use timers/movement sensors/contacts/interlocks because direct emitters should not be deployed in occupied spaces.
These solutions will not only help to protect your staff, students and visitors, but they will also help to protect your valuable artworks, artefacts and contents from fungal spores and microbiological degradation.
Our devices have been successfully used to disinfect air inside display rooms to protect priceless antiquities and the pigments to Roman Mosaics, including artefacts held in private collections.