A sophisticated heating and air-condititiing system will ensure Michelangelo's famous frescoes will remain unspoilt for future generations

High-tech air-conditioning to help preserve Vatican artwork

A new cutting edge air-conditioning and ventilation system will be installed in the Vatican Museum to help protect precious Sistine Chapel frescoes.

The sophisticated system controlling heating, air-conditioning and ventilating (HVAC) was custom-designed by engineering group Carrier to reduce the wear on the 15th century artwork by Italian renaissance master Michelangelo.

"We are confident that Carrier's HVAC system will enable us to realize 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," said Antonio Paolucci, Director of the Vatican Museums.

The new system, commissioned by the Vatican Museum is expected to be installed by the third quarter of 2014 and will replace a previous system, also designed by Carrier that has been in place since the early 1990s.

"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,” said Rafael Garcia de la Serrana Villalobos, Director of the Vatican Technical Services.

The new system will be twice as efficient and provide three times the capacity of the previous system. The custom-engineered solution uses first-of-its-kind energy-saving technologies, as well as innovative approaches to minimize noise and limit air motion around the frescoes.

The design team used advanced modelling technology to ensure optimal airflow around the artwork and maintain desired temperature and humidity levels. The company says that the visitor' experience of the Sistine Chapel, one of the most important pieces of art from the renaissance era, won’t be by any means affected by the system as it will basically unnoticeable.

The company will soon begin disassembling the existing system. Throughout the summer, a temporary unit will provide air-conditioning in the chapel until the new system is put in place.

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