Analysis of recorded data led to improvements in energy efficiency and helps maintain a stable environment for sensitive items on display.
A recent monitoring project at National Museum Cardiff
demonstrated enormous savings from modifications to
environmental management in display galleries.
Many museum galleries are air conditioned to maintain
stable relative humidity and temperature. Fluctuations can
result in damage to objects because of swelling or shrinkage,
because many objects absorb and desorb moisture from the
atmosphere. Air conditioning is employed to reduce these
fluctuations which can occur due to a large numbers of visitors,
extremely wet or dry weather, doors being left open, or unplanned
breakdown of air handling equipment. But in a historic building
with large thermal mass which is closed to visitors at night,
fluctuations tend to be minimal after dark.
Christian Baars, the Senior Preventive Conservator, was able to
demonstrate this during night-time shut downs of air conditioning
equipment at the Museum. Several trials were undertaken in the
Geology galleries, where a number of environmental monitors -
including seven Tinytag Ultra 2 temp/RH
data loggers - were installed. These trials
demonstrated that both temperatures and relative humidity
in the galleries and inside display cases were stable, and
there was hardly any difference between nights with air
conditioning on or off. As a consequence, air conditioning
is now switched off in these galleries each night, resulting in
substantial energy savings while still maintaining an
environment save for objects.
Christian comments, "We chose the Tinytag Ultra 2
because it is yellow (and therefore easy to see), robust, and the
software is user-friendly - it's easy to import data into Excel for