Integrating Electrochromic Glazing Technology into Conservation-Focused Lighting Design for Museum Collections

University essay from KTH/Ljusdesign

Abstract: Museums, art galleries, and historical sites house items of important cultural value. They must provide sufficient lighting to allow for the public viewing of these items, but are also responsible for conservation of them, which requires strict control of the light levels on delicate materials. Windows provide many benefits to building occupants, but for light control, museums restrict the use of daylight. Electrochromic (EC) glazing changes opacity based on electrical charge, so it is possible to vary the amount of daylight admitted through windows. EC glazing can be integrated with museum lighting through a building management system, which can modulate light levels based on a variety of inputs. The Renwick Gallery is used as a case study for the potential application of EC glazing in a museum space. Because of other requirements for the management of environmental conditions, the use of EC glazing will not show a significant reduction in energy consumption. However, the benefits of access to windows, daylight, and views justify its use. EC technology is advancing rapidly. Due to its current limitations and the logistics of application into a historic structure, the Renwick Gallery may best be served by future advancements.

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