Better Natural Ventilation and Insulation for the Sanctuary Building?

Better Natural Ventilation and Insulation for the Sanctuary Building?

One of the on-going investigations out of Capital Campaign is whether there might be a way to better ventilate and insulate the Sanctuary Building’s attic.

Janice, Keith, Andrew and Ray, all folks with building, architectural and engineering expertise, have agreed to serve on an ad hoc committee to investigate these possibilities.

The round window in the pediment on the front facade (way up over the front doors) is out at Fairmount Park Conservatory getting restored. The back round window in the attic — did you even know there was one back there? — is yet to be repaired (really rebuilt). The brick work on the back pediment around that window also needs to be repaired.

But there has been conversation during the Capital Campaign about instead of repairing the window installing an attic fan in its place. That and getting the louvers on the sunburst operational could mean that we could not only get hot air out of the attic on warm days, but with enough draw up through the sunburst and perhaps we could pull hot air out of the sanctuary and even bring cool air in from outside in the Spring and Fall, thus lessening our dependence on air conditioning the Sanctuary.  

Also, we have spoken about possibly laying down insulation on the top of the lathe in the attic, either foam or rolled — to help with insulation. Currently, there is no insulation on the top side of the lathe and plaster that composes the Sanctuary ceiling, when means heat loss when we are heating, and when we are cooling, it’s always under a very hot “hat.”  If we were able to move air up through our attic, perhaps insulation could also act to encapsulate dust and dirt that has accumulated in our attic over the last 180 years.

There are of course many angles to all of these questions. How it can be done, how it can be done cost-effectively, the cost-savings versus the investment, etc. Our four member committee is sort of a dream team to consider these issues. When they have completed their study of the possibilities, they will bring a report to the Administration SLG and the Elders.