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Air Curtains Help Make York Art Gallery More Energy Efficient

Towards the end of 2012, the York Art Gallery was closed in order for it to benefit from a multimillion-pound refurbishment. In addition to opening up a previously unused roof space, expanding into adjacent rooms and creating a new exhibition space to enlarge the size of the gallery by 60 per cent, the £8 million refurbishment works were also used as an opportunity to improve the building's energy efficiency. 

The use of thermography helped identify the largest areas of heat loss, and where the greatest areas of improvement could be made. The thermal image picked out several points where heat was escaping; the lintels above the windows and some of the windows themselves in the Art Store, compromised, older insulation in the roof space, and through the poorly-insulated flanges, joints and valves of the pipework on a recently installed boiler. 

The thermal survey also highlighted many other ways that energy efficiency improvements could be made. Simple measures such as replacing draft proofing at window installations was one suggestion, as was the introduction of air curtains to improve the energy efficiency and comfort of the building.

Using warm air curtains at the busy entrance doors to the gallery will help lower energy usage by creating a barrier of air that reduces the amount of heating lost through a frequently used door. 

"We will certainly be making the recommendation that a post-construction thermographic survey is carried out to demonstrate any improvements made," said Pete Thompson, Senior Engineer at consultancy firm Arup. 

The York Art Gallery is planned to reopen to the public in Easter 2015.

 You can view the case study here.