Carrier is to supply a new air conditioning system for the Sistine Chapel to help protect Michelangelo’s 16th century frescoes against deterioration.
Described as groundbreaking, Carrier’s solution for the Sistine Chapel has been developed by engineers from the company’s AdvanTE³C Solutions Center, a global group of experts in efficiency and environment focused on developing sustainable building solutions. The system is expected to be installed and commissioned in October.
The new system is said to be designed to deliver exceptional performance with twice the efficiency and three times the capacity of the Carrier system, installed in the early 1990s, that it replaces.
The custom-engineered solution is said to use first-of-its-kind energy-saving technologies, as well as industry-leading approaches to minimise noise and limit air motion around the frescoes. Once installed, the system is designed to be virtually unnoticeable to visitors.
The 16th century frescoes are particularly susceptible to modern pollutants and the amount of humidity and dirt brought into the building by as many as 20,000 tourists per day.
Although Carrier has not supplied specific details of the new system, the existing system is designed to maintain temperatures between 20ºC in summer and 25ºC in winter at 55%rh +/-5%. The air filters remove particles down to 0.1µm.
Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican Museums stated: “We are confident that Carrier’s hvac system will enable us to realise our goal of ensuring the preservation of Michelangelo’s masterpieces in the Sistine Chapel while allowing visitors to continue to behold the frescoes for years to come.”
Rev Rafael Garcia de la Serrana Villalobos, director of the Vatican Technical Services said: “The Carrier solution is the right response to our urgent need to establish a highly controlled microclimate as well as an effective reduction of pollutants.”
Work will begin immediately with disassembly of the existing system; in the interim, a temporary system will provide cooling to the chapel throughout the summer.