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Project Description

One (1) storey, 1,100 m² nitrate film preservation archive centre including 20 cold vaults (2°C @ 25% RH), three (3) acclimatization vaults (10°C @ 25% RH), film digitization labs, loading dock and lunch room.  Under certain environmental conditions nitrate film is susceptible to spontaneous combustion, which can be prevented by maintaining stringent environmental criteria defined in NFPA 40. Library and Archives Canada’s (LAC) requirements for this facility went beyond these in order to ensure long term preservation.  The facility includes the following features:

  • Low temperature chillers (chilled glycol supplied -8°C).
  • Energy Recovery Ventilator in order to dehumidify the make-up air with the dry and cold exhaust air from the vaults.
  • Dehumidifier to further dry out the supply air to meet the relative humidity requirements of the vaults.  The supply air is heated during this process and then cooled by the chilled glycol to meet the space temperature requirements.
  • Fire/smoke dampers designed to withstand 1 psi of pressure.
  • Gas detection system to monitor vaults to provide early warming of film deterioration.
  • Single interlock pre-action system to prevent potential freezing of sprinklers in vaults.
  • Containment of contaminated sprinkler water.
  • Fume hood containment for inspection of film prior to storing or digitization.
  • Exhaust extraction system for localized exhaust at digitization systems.

All of the vault HVAC systems are fully redundant (2N) to allow maintenance without losing temperature or humidity control within the vaults.

Project Details

Owner: Library & Archives Canada (LAC)
Project Location: Ottawa, ON
Construction Completion: 2011
Building Type: Industrial
Project Type: New Construction
Construction Value: $3.8M (M&E)

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