Kenwood House, located on Hamstead Heath, dates back to the early 17th century when it was originally known as Caen Wood House. In the 1760’s and 70’s it was transformed by Robert Adam for the 1st Earl of Mansfield. Over the years various additions were made to the main house including an orangery, a dairy and even a brewery. The gardens and ancient woodlands surrounding the house are home to sculptures by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth as well as what is claimed to be the largest Pipistrelle bat roost in London.

The house closed in March 2012 for restoration, reinterpretation and major repairs to the roof. The Adam rooms were repainted following paint analysis and follow the colour scheme shown in the original Adam watercolours. The collection of paintings by artists such as Vermeer, Rembrandt, Turner and Gainsborough have been rehung in a complimentary setting.

An additional aspect of the refurbishment was the upgrading of the boiler which ran a ducted heating system. This was originally thermostatically controlled throughout the building. Kenwood already had a Meaco wireless monitoring system which has been providing reliable data on conditions for over 10 years. The decision was taken, however, to update the system with new transmitters and link them to the building management system (BMS) to control the new boiler.

The transmitters chosen were the HTX transmitter which have unrivalled accuracy (+/- 0.8%rh) and excellent stability over time. These units transmit the temperature and humidity data to both the Meaco monitoring system and the BMS which both have a Meaco receiver attached. The data is stored by the monitoring system and can be viewed in either real time, historically in a graphical format or in a report format. These reports have been used to monitor the effectiveness of the new heating system.

Rather than just use the heating system to control the temperature it could also be used as a conservation heating system to control the relative humidity throughout the house. Conservation heating is the principle of controlling the humidity through the use of heat. The premise is that if you heat a space you reduce the relative humidity and if you cease heating the space, allowing it to cool, the relative humidity will increase again. Usually conservation heating is used with a small control device such as the Meaco Conservation Heating Humidistat or MeacoStat and a heat source such as a radiator, perfect for single rooms and other small spaces. At Kenwood House the BMS acts as the heating humidistat for the whole house, making its decisions based on the Meaco transmitters.

An interface is used to enable communication between the Meaco Receiver and the BMS system. The BMS is programmed with the desired humidity levels and makes the decision to turn the heating on or off depending on the data received from the transmitters. As the relative humidity levels rise above the desired setting the heating is turned on. Once it had fallen to an acceptable level the heating is turned off again.

The use of the Hygroclip transmitter means that English Heritage are more confident in the control than they were when using the standard BMS sensors – and the system only needs one set of sensors so reducing maintenance and cost. The Meaco transmitters can also be calibrated and adjusted if required so that the accuracy can be maintained over the life of the system. Checking the conditions remotely the conservation team can make decisions about adjusting the BMS settings knowing that the monitoring and control systems are working from the same data sets.

The humidity is also supplemented by the use of humidifiers and where the heating was temperature controlled and therefore having an adverse effect on the humidity levels it now works in tandem with the Brune evaporative humidifiers rather than increasing their work load.

The reports produced from the monitoring system has shown that using the BMS as a heating humidistat alongside the humidifiers has meant that conditions are within English Heritage specifications 99% of the time.

Kenwood has now re-opened so go take a look at this amazing restoration project and see this beautiful house as it would have been in 18th century.

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