The Winterthur Project and Future Directions for Sustainable Environmental Management

Winterthur Team

The NEH Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections Implementation Grant program provided funding to the Winterthur Museum in Delaware in 2012 for a Sustaining Collections Project. Jim Reilly and Alex Bliss from IPI and consultant Peter Herzog from Herzog/Wheeler & Associates are working with Winterthur along with Limbach Engineering & Design Company, Winterthur Engineers Group, and Winterthur Collections Group. The project has two primary goals.

The first is a major improvement in the energy efficiency and quality of the preservation environment in Winterthur’s collection areas through mechanical system and control upgrades. These improvements will allow the development of energy saving operational protocols that take advantage of wider preservation ranges for temperature and relative humidity, seasonal changes, and the inherent buffering capacity of buildings and collections.

The second is the development and installation of an innovative control/monitoring interface between IPI’s eClimateNotebook™ software and a new web-based Tridium control system that will provide real time data that can be viewed simultaneously by engineers, facilities, and conservation staff. Using eClimateNotebook’s analysis features to assess data from collection spaces, the building automation system (BAS), and the local weather, this program will allow the systematic analysis of operational protocols along with an assessment of their cost effectiveness.

The prototype eClimateNotebook™ - BAS link developed during this project can potentially benefit other cultural heritage institutions challenged to develop an energy-efficient operating approach that maintains a preservation-quality environment. This is a significant step in sustainable preservation practice, allowing facilities and collections care staff to reach a common understanding about the effect of the environment on collections and to take appropriate steps to improve conditions.