What do the Canarian House of Columbus and the Sistine Chapel have in common?

The exhibition halls of the Casa de Colón in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria will inaugurate a reform with which the island center is placed at the same level as one of the most visited venues in the world, the Sistine Chapel, at least in terms of efficiency energy is concerned.

What do the Canarian House of Columbus and the Sistine Chapel have in common?

The exhibition halls of the Casa de Colón in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria will inaugurate a reform with which the island center is placed at the same level as one of the most visited venues in the world, the Sistine Chapel, at least in terms of efficiency energy is concerned.

From this moment on, and thanks to a process of reforming the facilities, visitors to these two enclaves and their valuable collections enjoy the same air conditioning system, with state-of-the-art technology and maximum respect for the environment and the value of the properties that they enjoy. welcome. On the occasion of the celebration of International Environment Day, the Ministry of Culture has presented this new air conditioning project for the Colombian headquarters, which represents an ambitious commitment of 630,000 euros.

The Casa de Colón is a mansion from the end of the 16th century transformed into a public center focused on the study, research and dissemination of the history of the Canary Islands and its relations with America. Inside the building there is a museum, a library and a study center specialized in Christopher Columbus, his passage through the Canary Islands and his link with the islands.

The Casa de Colón closed 2021 with an attendance of 73,815 visitors and users, almost 35% more than in 2020, when 54,831 people were counted. Although the figure is still far from pre-pandemic data, it is true that the museum facility welcomes an increasing number of visitors, who bring with them heat, humidity, dust and CO2. Faced with the risk that the exhibited works would suffer serious damage, the Museum Service directed by Alicia Bolaños Naranjo set out to find innovative and environmentally friendly solutions. The proposed solution also makes the collections feel safer with the control guaranteed by this innovative technology.

However, finding the right project for a building with the characteristics of the Casa de Colón was not an easy task. Ramón Gil, curator of the museum, knows it well. «We are in the Casa de Colón. It is a museum located in the historic center of Vegueta. The site where it is located was the house of the governors of the island. It has made it an icon of the city of the first order. Hence the importance of a project like this when it comes to not distorting what visitors expect to see. The collections "are the soul of a museum", highlighted Elena Acosta Guerrero, director of the Casa de Colón, the conservation and maintenance projects of our heritage have had to adapt.

The objective of this project was to design an air conditioning system that would protect the works of art and that would be integrated into such a unique building. Emilio Pellejero, director of projects at 'No off Estudio', highlights the technical difficulties of the initiative. “We were looking for a high-tech system that would allow energy savings and low CO2 emissions. The main conditioning factor to take into account is the conservation conditions of the exhibited works. To do this, the ideal conditions of humidity and temperature must be maintained at all times, ”explains the expert.

Relative humidity is the most important parameter. It must be kept at 60% at all times to avoid the appearance of mold. The temperature must tend to be low, in order to slow down the chemical processes that could take place. But, on the other hand, the environment to which the work is exposed must be stable, avoiding sudden variations in humidity and temperature conditions that may cause the appearance of tensions in the material and lead to the deterioration of the piece.

In addition to achieving the stated objectives, the system must be perceived as little as possible, both visually and auditorily, with complicated technology and a minimal invasion of heritage. It has been achieved through the supply air, which moves the interior air towards the extraction area through linear diffusers, arranged transversely and fully integrated into the coffered ceiling of the false ceiling.

The designed system consists of a production plant, made up of a chiller and a heat pump that are responsible for producing hot and cold water for the operation of the installation. They are equipment that reduce their sound level to adapt to the emblematic environment. The system also includes air treatment units that condition the exhibition rooms, incorporating the necessary ventilation flow and filtering it to minimize contaminating agents, both indoors and outdoors.

The installation of the scope of the new air conditioning system has been designed by the company 'Carrier Global Corporation', the world's leading provider of sustainable and intelligent solutions for construction and the cold chain. With this system, the Casa de Colón adapts to the objectives of the 2030 Agenda.

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