Kirchenräume und ihr Klima. Heizen, Lüften, Ausstattung schützen

(Church Rooms and their Climate. Heating, Ventilation, Equipment Protection)

by Christine Fiedler M.A., Jennifer Oster M.A., and Dipl.-Rest. Ina Birkenbeul

Next period: 4 October - 28 November 2021
Course fee: 139,- € (students get a reduction of 20%)

Whether altarpieces, pulpits, sculptures, paintings or organs: the wooden furnishings of churches react very sensitively to climatic changes. Cracks, open joints, flaking of layers of paintings and paint and soiling are the consequences, and mould in particular has increased dramatically in recent times. It is therefore becoming more and more difficult for all those affected to find good compromises between church use, energy-efficient heating and the preservation of sensitive furnishings. Forecasts of future climate development with declining church tax revenues reinforce the need for practical recommendations.

The generously illustrated course, enriched with short video sequences, explains the basics of the problem, especially about wood, humidity and temperature, heating and ventilation. you will learn the basic parametres  and criteria for qualified climate measurements as well as specific recommendations for action on proper heating, ventilation, humidification and dehumidification and on correct observation. In doing so, the variety of location- and object-related factors as well as the preventive conservational possibilities will be clarified.
All explanations are structured step-by-step, so that you can become familiar with the topic even with little previous knowledge. Tabular overviews and references to current standards, literature references and online tips will help you to understand the course materials. Among the free downloads are some papers of the conference proceedings Church climate. Preventive conservation of the interior furnishings from 2019, upon which some of the course is based on.

The units:

  • After an overview of the learning objectives with state of research in the first module, the second module provides an overview of the physical and material-specific basics on the topic of climate and wood.
  • Churches entail a wide range of structural conditions that have an influence on the indoor climate. In the third module, you will learn about the most important influences as well as the interaction between outdoor climate, building and indoor climate.
  • The fourth module focuses on usage and shows the interaction between people and church space.
  • The fifth module explains the effects of climate fluctuations on the hygroscopic materials of church furnishings. Causes of damage and damage patterns are presented.
  • After a short insight into the requirements and conditions of the topic of church heating, the sixth unit gives you current recommendations on a basic temperature and the heating rate for church spaces.
  • The seventh unit supplements the area of climate control with ventilation and humidification and dehumidification. You will be introduced to different types of ventilation and learn about the mode of operation and the advantages and disadvantages of the most common devices for humidification and dehumidification.  
  • The eighth unit provides insight to the basics of climate measurements and their measured variables, as well as an overview of the most common devices: you will learn how they work and how to use them.
  • The ninth unit contains an overview of the criteria and framework conditions for monitoring, starting with the task or problem definition and ending with concrete instructions for action.  

Please note that the course focuses on churches with excessively humid indoor climates, as we tend to have in Germany. 

About the authors:
Christine Fiedler M.A. studied conservation/restoration of "Furniture and Wooden Objects" at the HAWK. She tutors and co-develops several online courses of the institute.

Jennifer Oster M.A. works as freelancer since her studies in conservation/restoration of "Framed Wooden Objects and Paintings" at HAWK. In both her bachelor's and master's theses, she intensively studied the effects of climate on church furnishings.

Dipl.-Rest. Ina Birkenbeul studied conservation/restoration of "Framed Wooden Objects" at the HAWK. She leads the restoration laboratory of framed wooden objects and paintings at the HAWK and teaches, among other things, climate measurement methods.

The course is integrated in the curriculum of the HAWK and can be credited to the studies at the Faculty of Building and Conservation.

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