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Carrier enhances comfort and supports art preservation at the Vatican Museums

An air conditioning solution from Carrier is helping to ensure optimal ventilation and comfort in the historic Raphael Rooms at the Vatican Museum. During a typical summer, the temperature in Rome can soar as high as 104°F/40°C, making the decision to install air conditioning in the Raphael Rooms for the first time an easy one.

To meet the unique needs of the historic space, Carrier engineers developed and installed a custom solution using a new system design that delivers heating and cooling in one-quarter of the traditional footprint, all without altering the existing historic infrastructure. 

“The Vatican Museums have the mission to ensure the protection and safety of the artwork, spaces and visitors. Carrier was extraordinary because, like its prior work at the Sistine Chapel, the team knew how to work with our technical divisions and how to update these rooms that were not conceived as a museum,” said Barbara Jatta, director, Vatican Museums. “The result not only helps us in our preservation mission for the future generations but also helps in the enjoyment of this heritage frequented daily by numerous visitors, more than six million every year.”

“It was a tremendous honor to be asked again by the Vatican Museums to deliver innovative solutions. This project underscores our role as a leader in the industry, who has the expertise to develop unique, customized HVAC solutions,” said Didier Genois, vice president and general manager, Carrier HVAC Europe. “We put our world-class engineering and design resources into this project and are exceptionally proud of the outcome.”

The right solution for the space had to be installed without impacting any of the historic elements within the rooms but would still function to deliver proper ventilation and maintain comfortable temperatures. The Vatican Museums again turned to Carrier, who in 2014 installed an HVAC system at the Sistine Chapel. Carrier engineers specifically designed small, yet high-capacity, fan coils to circulate the air, which were installed underneath the windows in the Raphael Rooms, remaining invisible to visitors. Energy-efficient Carrier AquaSnap 30RQV chillers were also installed in a location unnoticeable to visitors, and an iVu building automation system is now in place to help optimize the HVAC systems to deliver a healthier, safer,
and more efficient indoor environment for visitors. Custom fan coils were installed underneath the windows in the Raphael Rooms, remaining invisible to visitors.

“The space available for equipment inside the Raphael Rooms was very reduced. We had to design a small 2.5 kW fan coil but with 10 kW of capacity, a powerful piece of equipment. This solution is unique because this type of product did not exist. We had to imagine and develop a product that would fit this function in a reduced space,” said Michel Grabon, director, Carrier AdvanTEC/Building Solutions Group Europe.

Adorned with frescoes painted between 1508 and 1524 by Renaissance artist Raphael, the Raphael Rooms are universally known as one of the greatest works of art ever created and a video highlighting the project can be found here.

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