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AquaSnap chillers bring conditions to book

UK: Carrier AquaSnap chillers and heat pumps are providing the ideal conditions for the preservation of historical books and manuscripts in London’s Lambeth Palace, home of the Archbishop of Canterbury. 

A new library, currently under construction within the grounds of Lambeth Palace on the South Bank of the River Thames, will house the priceless collection comprising over 4,600 manuscripts and 200,000 printed books stretching back to the 9th Century. They document over 1,000 years of ecclesiastical and cultural life of the Church of England and Great Britain, including the Gutenberg Bible, which is believed to be the first printed book to arrive to England, as well as Elizabeth I’s own prayer book.

The building and its services are designed to protect the archives from changes in humidity, temperature, air pollution and flood risk. The design for the environmental control solution, produced by engineering firm Max Fordham, had to address the needs of two principal zones within the building – archive storage facilities and areas occupied by people on a daily basis.

Conditions for archive storage areas follow the recommendations of PD 5454, Guide for the Storage and Exhibition of Archival Materials, which requires a temperature of 8ºC during winter and 18ºC in summer, with an RH of 45%. These conditions will be maintained as far as possible using a passive approach, with high levels of insulation and thermal inertia provided by the building fabric. Conditions will be constantly monitored and if they begin to drift outside pre-set limits, the HVAC equipment will be used to maintain temperatures and humidity levels.

Occupied areas including offices, seminar and reading rooms, a conservation suite and exhibition areas, are served by fan coil units with fresh air ducted into the spaces with humidity control. This solution maintains a high quality environment 24/7 for visitors and staff.

The highly efficient heating and cooling solution, specified by Max Fordham and installed by East West Connect, includes four Carrier chillers: two 30RBSY060 cooling-only chillers and two 30RQSY060 air-to-water heat pumps. Equipment is sited in two plant rooms located on the ground and first floor. The heat pumps provide heating by default, but can also be operated in reverse cycle mode to augment cooling when summer conditions require additional capacity.

“It is a highly efficient solution, and instead of requiring six chillers with four on cooling duties and two on heating, the heat pumps enable just four chillers to cover all requirements,” said Max Fordham’s Lidia Guerra, who led the environmental control design team. “The Carrier plant provides this through intelligent communication between the cooling and heating sides of the system. If the cooling system is unable to deliver the required capacity – due to either extreme weather conditions or in the unlikely event of mechanical breakdown – the heat pump units can be operated in reverse to provide additional cooling to bridge the gap.”

The Church Commissioners for England commissioned architect Wright & Wright to design the new library, with main contractor Knight Harwood. The Library at Lambeth Palace is due to be completed in Spring 2020.

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