The potential and limits for passive air conditioning of museums, stores and archives

Tim Padfield, Poul Klenz Larsen, Lars Aasbjerg Jensen and Morten Ryhl-Svendsen

The climate in unventilated stores and archives can be entirely passively controlled in temperate regions. Three actual and one simulated archive demonstrate the potential of various forms of conservation heating. The heat and humidity buffering of the building and its content must be sufficient to allow the building to cruise through both summer and winter extremes on inertial guidance. This brings the passive climate quite close to the strict limits imposed by standards and guidelines. The potential for increased chemical decay caused by lack of ventilation cannot be quantified because of a lack of research on the kinetics of gas-solid reactions in stores with multiple levels of enclosures. Extension of passive climate control to exhibition spaces cannot provide a constant climate but is certainly capable of reducing variation in temperature and relative humidity to a useful degree and within the safe limits according to current scientific knowledge.