BOSS Controls helps Museums and Galleries throughout the UK protect valuable Objects and Artifacts

Vicky Vaughan

Carrob Controls optimising BEMS in the Art Galleries sector
BOSS Controls helps Museums and Galleries throughout the UK protect valuable Objects and Artifacts

Museums and galleries are traditionally located in heritage buildings and these types of buildings provide a number of challenges for Facilities, Projects, Maintenance and Contracts management. Apart from consuming high amounts of energy to heat, heritage buildings can be damp and home to harmful air pollutants which may damage valuable objects and artefact and employee health.

Air pollution in heritage buildings

Air pollution can appear from both internal and external sources. Internally, chemicals may come from gas heating, cooking, electrical equipment, some building materials, adhesives, furniture and fixtures. Chemicals that come from the outside may enter by vents in the building (source: Guidelines on pollution control in heritage buildings).

Air pollution damage of museum and gallery artefacts

Pollution culprits consist of many gasses in the air including sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, hydrogen
sulphide, formic acid, acetic acid and these pollutants are responsible for tarnishing metals, damaging paints and dyes, damaging and discolouring paper, reducing the strength of textiles and attacking photographic materials (source: Guidelines on pollution control in heritage buildings).

Pollutant damage on human health

When Sulphur Dioxide reacts with humidity, it forms sulphuric and sulphurous aerosol acid (acid rain). If the dose is high enough it can cause corneal haze, breathing difficulty, airways inflammation, eye irritation, psychic alteration and even heart failure in some cases. Sulphur dioxide is also associated with asthma, chronic bronchitis, morbidity and mortality increase in old people and infants (source: Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR)).

  • Long-term nitrogen dioxide exposure may decrease lung function and increase the risk of respiratory symptoms (Source: Green Facts)
  • High exposure to hydrogen sulphide can cause Irritation of eyes, nose, and throat, bronchial constriction in asthmatic individuals and more serious conditions (Source: Scott Simonton, Ph.D., PE, Morgan Spears, Oct 03, 2007)
How BOSS CONTROLS helps Facilities Managers in heritage buildings protecting the health of employees, visitors and museum exhibits

BOSS CONTROLS’ expert Building Management System (BMS) engineers work with some of the UK’s leading museums and galleries designing bespoke strategies tailored to the exact pollutants, humidity, occupancy rate and building type. We configure BMS controls to pick up changes, for example, If air filters become blocked with chemicals, then the pressure will change. In some cases we will reduce the natural and mechanical ventilations rates (within appropriate levels for health, safety and comfort).

Our configuration empowers facilities managers and on site engineers, by alerting them directly so they can change the pollutant filters and reset the system. Many of our clients benefit from remote BMS controls which means we can also carry out optimisation and Planned and Reactive Maintenance (PPM) from our head office.

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