Royal approval for Nottinghamshire net zero firm’s library project

St Botolph's Library

Nottingham-based Viridis, known for reducing carbon footprints in buildings, has received praise from Princess Anne for its work in preserving a rare book collection in a historic church library.

Viridis, located in Collingham, near Newark, improved energy efficiency, reduced costs, and controlled UV exposure and humidity at St Botolph’s Church in Boston, Lincolnshire.

This medieval church, often referred to as the Boston Stump, houses a library with approximately 1,200 historic books, including St. Augustine’s Commentary on Genesis dating back to 1170.

Viridis was commissioned by the Boston Stump Restoration Trust to design an energy system to protect these books from potential damage caused by excessive natural light, temperature fluctuations, and humidity variations.

To address the issue of too much natural light in the library, bookshelves were placed in front of the two smaller windows, and louvre blinds were installed on the large window. Staff can manually adjust these blinds as needed.

Additionally, Viridis added a humidification unit, similar in size to a small filing cabinet, to maintain the right level of humidity. This helps protect the ancient books from both excessive dryness and excessive moisture, which can be harmful.

Lee Marshall, managing director of Viridis, said: “In terms of the library, which is a relatively small space, it was receiving too much natural light through its large, ornate south-facing window and two smaller windows, so we had to address that as it was damaging the books. With its thick stone walls, which can keep heat in as well as out, we also manipulated physics to ensure the internal temperate remains at a moderate 17 degrees – which is not too cold and not too hot for the delicate books.

“Instead of wasting energy by using a third-party water source in the event that the air is too dry, our unit stores and utilises the free moisture that exists in the atmosphere. It is these small details that help to provide our clients with the big benefits.It’s now warmer and therefore more welcoming, which was a very important part of our brief. The church as a whole is now far more sustainable, and we have created an environment in the library that saves some very historic books. I’d like to thank the team at St Botolph’s for their vision and support.”

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