Dehumidification Needs Increase Global Warming Spiral In recent years new technologies have emerged to help keep the energy cost of dehumidifica- tion relatively low. Even so, for many institutions, the cost is more than they can afford. As more and more institutions decide to install dehumidification systems on a building-wide scale, such systems will increase the global use of energy. As a result, supply and demand forces in the open market will recognize this new demand, and the spiral of energy demand will help make energy costs soar.
Also, there may well be a spiral effect of a global increase in energy consumption from increased air-conditioning demands for basic cooling. Without even greater pollution controls on electric power plants, even more pollutants will be released into the air.
Speaking of Pollutants Twenty-five years ago, we recommended adding only gas phase filtration systems to museum facilities with holdings of objects considered “the rarest of the rare” in densely occupied cities of the United States such as New York, Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia.
Today it has become the norm to recommend at least a minimum level of activated carbon filtration for outside air introduced into any major museum facility. Building codes now recognize that outdoor air can be of lower quality than indoor air at times of high-vehicle, rush-hour traffic. Consequently, codes now allow “demand ventilation” systems, which shut off the introduction of outdoor air into a building unless the indoor carbon dioxide levels rise above prescribed limits.
There is no question that pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, ozone, oxides of nitrogen, and unburned carbon from internal combustion vehicles are plaguing our museums as well as our workplaces and homes.
Water, Water Everywhere Believe it or not, water is a fixed resource on this planet, and water availability is changing very rapidly. Polar ice caps are melting, and the aquifers beneath us are being sucked dry by wells. I also see the museum industry using more and more reverse osmosis to filter water for use in humidifiers—an extremely wasteful practice. The process wastes a significant amount
Conrad Climate Control Systems Design and Climate Change Contribution to the Experts’ Roundtable on Sustainable Climate Management Strategies, held in April 2007, in Tenerife, Spain