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Victoria and Albert Museum

Museum, London

The world-renowned Victoria and Albert Museum situated in the heart of London’s Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is home to a permanent collection of 4.5 million objects from the realm of decorative arts and design. Attracting over 3 million visitors in 2013 alone, the museum faces continuous challenges in providing a comfortable environment for people to peruse its vast collection.

One such challenge was installing a new heating and ventilating system across the entire sixth floor ceramics section. While ensuring the visitor experience is satisfactory from a comfort perspective, it was also important to find a solution that was not visually intrusive, so not to detract from the collection of pieces on display, as well as something that would not violate any building restrictions.

In identifying a tailored solution that adhered to the various unique requirements that the museum specified, the project’s building services consultants, Norman Disney & Young, selected Jaga as the service provider best positioned to fulfil the heating and ventilation needs of the project.

“The main challenge with the project was to fit modern day, energy efficient heating and ventilation into a Grade I listed building,” said Steve Charles, Jaga’s technical consultant on the project. “We worked closely with Norman Disney & Young throughout the project before recommending the Jaga Oxygen heating and ventilating system,  Jaga Clima Canal and “built in” DBE radiators.”

The Oxygen system adapts to the indoor air quality of the room, measuring it and automatically activating when required to ensure a fresh and healthy environment for visitors to browse the displays and keep their minds attentive. Because it only reacts when necessary, it improves the energy efficiency by up to 28% combined with fixed speed ventilation. The technologically sophisticated Oxygen system is incorporated into Jaga’s heating solutions to significantly reduce CO2 levels.

When selecting a powerful heating solution to warm the sixth floor, Jaga worked closely with Norman Disney & Young to understand the challenges before recommending a customised installation of the Clima Canal trench heating system.

The Clima Canal’s highly efficient and responsive dynamic Low-H20 heat exchanger combined with its whisper-quiet activators means the Clima Canal reacts to temperature fluctuations nine times faster than standard wall mounted radiators, ensuring a steady temperature is maintained for the visitors comfort.  Clima Canal’s compact dimensions and noiseless operation allow it to perform unobtrusively even in the most sensitive area.

The Victoria and Albert Museum’s Grade I listed building status meant that no external brickwork could be modified to accommodate the system. Jaga’s experience in adapting to such restrictions on similar renovation projects meant the most desirable solution was attained.  

“In the main ceramic display areas we used the Jaga Clima Canal system mounted beneath the display cabinets. These units also allow fresh air to be introduced into the galleries as well as heating,” explained Charles. “The units themselves were mounted underneath the custom built display cabinets and fitted with a decorative grille to match the display cabinet finish.”

Charles elaborated further on how Jaga countered the issue of ensuring the radiators remained discreet and practically invisible to the naked eye, saying:  “As Jaga can offer products across the range that can be ‘built in’, meaning that the heat exchanger can be built into a decorative casing rather than the standard painted steel case, it allows the architect to maintain the period look of the building whilst allowing the use of contemporary heating and ventilating products.”

With the combined efforts of highly responsive radiators with a self-regulating ventilation system, the Victoria and Albert Museum’s ceramics floor can maintain a comfortable environment all year round.


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