Historical and Traditional Buildings – The ChallengesThe challenges posed by historic and traditional buildings are many and varied, but the main factor in any work carried out is the need to preserve the building and in many cases its contents for future generations. This can require the use of traditional building techniques and preclude the use of more modern materials which these are unsympathetic to the building.
Despite these requirements, historic buildings still need to remain economically viable if they are to survive. This brings about its own conflicts as, apart from significant and well-known buildings, few structures are able to generate enough income to allow upkeep without being adapted to serve modern uses. The challenge is to keep interventions to the building to a minimum so as to allow the original fabric and character to be retained to the fullest extent while also providing suitable services for modern uses.
Conservation heating systemsWhereas in modern buildings the focus is usually on thermal comfort for the occupants, for historic buildings, particularly those with historic collections, the emphasis is more on controlling the humidity to help preserve the building fabric and artworks.
As there is a relationship between relative humidity and temperature, adjusting the temperature can prove to be one of the easiest and most accurate methods of controlling humidity in historic building environments. While setting the temperature according to the humidity will not necessarily produce the most comfortable environment, it will provide the least damaging environment for historic buildings and artefacts and in museum environments is usually the preferred control method.
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