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A greener gallery – more than just hot air

April 5, 2011

When this photograph was taken a couple of weeks ago, you can see that the building was still on a life support system.  Now I am pleased to report that the patient is surviving on its own pumps and circulation.  The boilers are fired up and all the new equipment is being commissioned.


Here is a picture of the boiler room.  There are 4 boilers, each of no more than domestic size.  We have adopted new standards for environmental conditions within the gallery spaces that should be better for the art works and allow us to be much more energy efficient.  The effect is that conditions will vary rather more than has been normal but only very slowly so that the equipment will work with the fabric of the building rather than constantly fighting against it.  Our services consultants, Harley Haddow, write:

By adopting this environmental control strategy, the capital cost of the air conditioning plant has been substantially reduced . . . . . . [by] 20-25%.  Electricity and gas energy required for the gallery spaces . . . . .  [should be] up to 42% less than for a traditional gallery operating to the guidelines of BS5454.  For the Portrait Gallery, this equates to approximately 11% reduction in Co2 emissions for the complete building’s annual energy consumption.

Well, let’s hope so . . . . . .

boiler room

It is always enjoyable to visit Charles Taylor’s dramatic workshop in the old West Parish Church at Dalkeith.  We were there to discuss progress on the display cabinets that were designed by Sir Robert Rowand Anderson in the 1880s for the Portrait Gallery (or more accurately for the Nation Museum of Antiquities housed there).  There must have been dozens at one time but four have survived and three will be returning in May.

Charles Taylor's workshop

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