This project is to conduct an evaluation of the buildings’ mechanical system (also called the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system or HVAC system) to determine what changes and improvements would be feasible and necessary to improve the environmental conditions in the building. A qualified and experienced HVAC engineer will be hired to inspect and evaluate the existing equipment and, keeping in mind any limitations imposed by the building envelope, develop specific recommendations together with estimated budget for implementing improvements. A second objective of the evaluation is to determine if improvements in equipment could improve the energy efficiency of the equipment resulting in a reduction in the amount of energy consumed annually.
Need and Rationale
One of the basic functions of museums, libraries and archives is to protect and preserve the collections for which they are the permanent stewards. Part of what is necessary for the long-term preservation of artifacts, books, documents, and electronic media in any of its many formats, is a physical environment that provides relatively stable temperature and humidity. Temperature in the range of 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity in the range of 35-50% are generally accepted ranges for the preservation of collections. Monitoring of the conditions in the building determined that conditions do not fall within the recommended guidelines. It is therefore desired to investigate and determine what improvements are feasible. The second rationale for the evaluation is to determine if it is possible increase energy efficiency so that less energy is consumed resulting in a reduction of the amount of money spent annually on energy.
Work Plan and Timetable
In preparation for the project or as a first step, gather temperature and humidity data documenting current conditions inside the building for a period of at least several weeks. Data gathered for several weeks during the spring, summer, fall and winter would be ideal. The project will begin with the selection of a vendor and a discussion of goals for the project. Once this is done, a site visit will be scheduled. The vendor will come to the site and examine the existing HVAC system and obtain information about and characterize the building envelope (interior and exterior walls, insulation and any vapor barriers that might be present). The vendor will then conduct whatever research and computations that are needed and using them, the temperature and humidity data provided and the information gathered during the site visit, develop recommendations for work that is feasible for improving the indoor environment.
A draft report with recommendations, product information and estimated labor and materials costs will then be delivered for review. Questions or points that need to be clarified should be discussed with the vendors. If there are no questions or after questions have been addressed, the vendor will deliver a final report.
If environmental monitoring data has to be generated, that will take 2-3 weeks. Once the data is obtained, the project should take approximately 45 days.
Completing the Application
Getting Started: Before completing the application form, plan your project as described above.
Project Personnel: Call the Grants Office for a current list of potential vendors. While these consultants are experienced and qualified to evaluate HVAC systems and prepare recommendations for improvements, the list is not intended to be exclusive. If you select another individual or firm to do the work, provide their name, qualifications and experience with projects of this type.
Putting it all together: Once you have selected a qualified consultant, complete the special structured grant application form. For the page one narrative, write a brief description of your organization and a short project summary. If there are particular issues with your building, mention them here. Fill in the name of your consultant on the line provided and the total project cost from his/her letter of committment to undertake the project. Attach a copy of the contractor’s letter to your application.
After the Project is Complete
After you have received the report and recommendations from your consultant, you will be ready to submit your final report to close out the grant. Use the Completion Report Form provided by the Grants Office. In describing how the project will have lasting impact for your organization, be sure to discuss your plans to implement the recommendations and explain how those improvements will benefit the collections into the future. Also, please be sure to take photographs related to the project, especially during the site visit.
Completing your final report is an important part of the project. It provides the Grants Office a means with which to evaluate and report on the success of projects funded through the grants program. The Grants Office will notify you by letter when your project has been closed out.