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Casanovas, Luis Efrem Elias and Peixoto de Freitas, Vasco and Ferreira, Cláudia and Oliveira Sequeira, Sílvia (2013) The limits of Garry Thomson’s Museums Temperate Zone: can they be enlarged? Climate for Collections - Standards and Uncertainties. Postprints of the Munich Climate Conference 7 to 9 November 2012. pp. 59-68.

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In The Museum Environment Garry Thomson wrote: ‘Is there such a climate as a Museum Temperate Zone, where throughout the year average daily RH remains within the moderately safe limits of 40 to 70 % and heating is rarely required? There are a few such favoured places scattered along the Mediterranean littoral’. In this study we show that, although Portugal is not typically Mediterranean, we can achieve ‘the moderately safe’ values quoted by Thomson due to a delicate balance between the outside conditions, the building, and the collections as ‘timber old and new will be seasoned to the average prevailing humidity’ [1]. The behaviour of Portuguese traditional masonry buildings is well adapted to the climate as demonstrated not only near the coast, but also in Elvas, close to the Spanish border, Évora, Castelo Branco and in Madeira and, most importantly, in the Mafra National Palace built in the seventeenth century, which ‘takes six months for cooling and another six months to recover’ [2]. Research on hygroscopic inertia processes has enabled us to interpret environmental data, primarily from archives where relative humidity fluctuations are within a 3 % range annually without any mechanical environmental control measures. It seems that by selecting adequate materials together with intelligence of the building and its operators, very little equipment will be required; a truly sustainable approach to environmental control. When briefing architects, we usually begin by emphasising that in Portuguese museums there are problems which will either solved by the architect or they will ever be solved.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Museum, Temperate Zone, Relative Humidity, Energy Efficiency, Hygroscopic inertia processes, Control, Sustainability
Subjects: English > Climate Control
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Depositing User: Universitetsadjunkt Susanna Carlsten
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2013 09:06
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2017 13:38

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