Smithsonian Institutions, Pennsy Collections and Support Center, Landover, Maryland
The Benefits of MeeFog Technology:
- Able to provide humidity to a large number of air handlers with a single MeeFog system
- Lower energy costs than a steam humidifier
- Lower maintenance costs
The Smithsonian Institution recently acquired a new storage facility to house and restore many of its artifacts. These artifacts require a constant humidity to prevent damage from continual shrinking and swelling as the humidity levels change.
A single Meefog humidification system was able to supply up to 540 lbs. per hour of moisture to fifteen separate duct mounted stainless steel humidifi cation chambers, allowing precise control of humidity throughout the facility.
Smithsonian Institutions, Pennsy Collections and Support Center
Lining the National Mall in Washington, DC are some of the Smithsonian Institutions major museums — the Air and Space Museum, the American Indian Museum, the Natural History Museum, the American History Museum, all of which contain a fraction of what’s warehoused at the Pennsy Collections and Support Center.
Within the Pennsy center, one can fi nd rows of 20′ high shelving containing every imaginable type of artifact. The building also holds an extensive textile collection with floor to ceiling racks filled with 18th century pianos, as well as historic fi lms, photos and documents. Since these artifacts are rare in nature, the building needed to follow strict environmental controls to preserve these treasures.
The Physical Site
The Smithsonian Institution recently moved into a leased 360,000 square foot facility, a former furniture warehouse. The new building houses collections for several of its museums, as well as offices, workshops and training facilities. Each of these areas needs to be maintained at the proper temperature and humidity for the material it contains.
There are 29 separate roof mounted air handlers servicing the building. A single MeeFog™ system was designed to provide humidification to fifteen humidification chambers, each of which can be separately controlled to provide the right level of humidity for the area it serves.
One of the major challenges was creating a workable environmental control system for the building. Don Posson was the managing principal engineer from Vanderweil for the project.
Most buildings are designed for a limited range of climate zones. In this case there were offices, a café, meeting rooms and workshops that needed to be kept comfortable for humans. Within the archival portions, it was a whole different story. Most of the areas didn’t require any extreme temperatures or humidity levels, though one section did have to be kept at 52° and another at 26°. However, the rest of the warehouse the temperature and humidity must be tightly controlled.
“The majority of the warehouse is one climate zone, with a standard humidity and temperature we dictate for the collections,” says Oehler. “We have to avoid wide swings in the humidity. If it swings up and down the materials will expand and contract damaging the artifacts.”
The air in different areas did often need to be kept separate, for example some of the shops had dust collection systems that vented to outside collectors. Others had paint booths or soldering areas with Nederman snorkel exhaust units to remove the fumes. Some specialized labs required once-through air systems. In the end, Posson says there were at least 29 air handlers on the roof to maintain the air quality in different parts of the building.
“There were a lot of specialized areas, each with its own climate control,” he says. “We really wanted to keep the climate zones separated so there wouldn’t be any cross contamination.”
While there were a large number of air handlers, the building was able to get away with a single humidification system. Initially the warehouse was going to use a boiler, but this would have been too costly. Instead, they went with a MeeFog high pressure system which is much cheaper to operate and easier to maintain.
“The MeeFog system is more energy efficient, especially for a building that is getting humidification throughout the greater percentage of the year,” says Posson. “We were originally moving in the direction of a steam boiler system and steam injection, but the Smithsonian brought up that they were going to be spending a lot of money on utilities, so we looked at the MeeFog system as an option to keep the operational cost down.”
The MeeFog system built for the Pennsy warehouse uses a single pump skid to pressurize the water and send it through 2400 feet of high pressure stainless tubing to fifteen separate duct mounted stainless steel humidification chambers. The pump can provide up to 540 lbs. of water per hour to arrays of impaction pin nozzles within those humidification chambers. The water passes through a .006″ orifice in the nozzle and then strikes the impaction pin, which splits the water stream into billions of minute droplets which rapidly evaporate in the airstream. Solenoid valves controlled by the building management system open or close as needed to control the water flow to the nozzles, providing the exact amount of humidification needed at that moment in time.
About Mee Industries Inc.
Mee Industries Inc. is an innovative, high technology corporation that provides highly customized, cost-effective fog solutions for a wide range of applications including gas turbine inlet air cooling. Founded in 1969 by former Cornell University Research Scientist, Thomas Mee Jr., today the company also specializes in revolutionary fog solutions for industrial humidification, outdoor air conditioning, greenhouse climate control, wine barrel humidification and unique special effects applications.
Renowned MeeFog turnkey solutions include meticulously designed and engineered, premium quality, integrated systems that deliver an unequaled combination of price and performance. Mee Industries products are backed by our experienced staff of technical personnel including leading researchers, project managers and engineers along with production and installation specialists. An active research and development division ensures our position of technological leadership in the fog system market. Mee Industries is a proud ISO 9001 certified corporation and manufactures components to meet exacting UL or CE requirements.
Mee Industries is a privately held company with corporate headquarters in Irwindale, Calfornia.