An innovative air conditioning solution from Carrier is helping to ensure optimal ventilation and comfort in the Vatican’s historic Raphael Rooms.
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 ever an easy one.
To meet the unique needs of the historic space, Carrier engineers developed and installed a custom solution utilising a new system design that delivers heating and cooling in one-quarter of the traditional footprint, all without altering the existing historic infrastructure.
Vatican Museums director, Barbara Jatta, said the main mission is to ensure the protection and safety of the artwork, spaces and visitors.
Jatta said Carrier was extraordinary because, like its prior work at the Sistine Chapel, the team knew how to work with its technical divisions and how to update the rooms that were not conceived as a museum.
"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,” she said.
Back in 2014, Carrier installed an innovative HVAC system at the Sistine Chapel.
Vice president & general manager of Carrier HVAC Europe, Didier Genois, said it was an honour to be asked by the Vatican Museums to deliver another solution.
“This project underscores our role as a leader in the industry, who has the expertise to develop unique, customized HVAC solutions," Genois said.
"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.
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.
The director of Carrier AdvanTEC/Building Solutions Group Europe, Michel Grabon, said the space available for equipment inside the Raphael Rooms was small.
“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,” he said.
“We had to imagine and develop a product that would fit this function in a reduced space.”
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.