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Improvement and Maintenance of Stable Microclimate in the Winter Palace

As part of the complex reconstruction of the buildings of the State Hermitage Museum, there is a programme to improve the microclimate in exhibition and other rooms of the 18th-century Winter Palace.

This programme includes the following:

  • Improved air circulation and increased humidity in exhibition rooms during the winter;
  • Maintenance of appropriate heating on each floor of the Winter Palace;
  • Prevention of condensation on ceilings, walls and windows;
  • Investigation of the existing channels running inside the walls regarding their usage as additional heating and ventilation systems.
The current air heating system, the Amosov "pneumatic heating," was installed in the basement of the Winter Palace in 1938. This system consists of 16 heating centres and also serves for ventilation.

In 1996, specialists of the Departments of Major Construction and Power Engineering, jointly with Danish Energy Agency specialists, inspected the air heating system of the Winter Palace, as a result of which it was considered necessary to undertake reconstruction and replacement of the old equipment.

The programme for the Complex Reconstruction of the Air Heating System Including 16 Heating Centres was jointly developed by the Hermitage and the Danish firm NIRAS. Most of the reconstruction work is being sponsored by the Danish Energy Agency.

Already, sanitary, construction and electro-technical work has been carried out in Heating Centre 9A, serving the southeastern section of the Winter Palace. This was part of the programme, begun after an experimental project for the reconstruction of this heating centre. This included installation of new ventilation equipment and a steam humidifier, and the construction of new channels inside the walls. An experimental reconstruction of a window in Room 232 was carried out to study a new method of removing condensation and maintaining the appropriate temperature inside rooms. This method will be applied to windows in the French 19th- and 20th-century rooms.

The Departments of Major Construction and Power Engineering have control over the work and construction and installation was carried out by the firm KLIMAT.

Inside the walls of the Winter Palace, there are ventilation and heating channels that have not been used since the fire of 1837. The Danish Energy Agency has provided the Hermitage with tele-equipment to find out if these might be used as part of the heating system in winter and of the ventilation system in summer.

Heating Centre 7A, serving the Rastrelli Gallery, is now under reconstruction. A plan for the reconstruction of Heating Centre 22 is being developed.

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