Iolani Palace getting $4.5 million cooling system

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - By: Erin Marx

A new air conditioning system will continue to preserve one of Hawaii's most cherished historical landmarks.

A traditional blessing ceremony took place at Iolani Palace on Tuesday for the installation for the new heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) system which will begin next week.

It will allow better humidity and temperature control which is vital in preserving the life of the building's artifacts.

Humidity control is especially important for wooden artifacts because moisture causes them to expand and contract. It also keeps out pests and biological growth like mold.

"It's about keeping the environment in there one free of humidity so that the preservation of the very special items in there that are priceless. Not because of their value on the open market but because of their value to Hawaiian people and people of Hawaii," said Bill Aila, Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The old cooling system was part of the restoration of Iolani Palace during the 1970's. The new system will allow reliable control and better energy efficiency. It will also replace the existing chillers in the old air conditioning ducts. You might see cranes lifting parts of the roof towers to gain access to the air ducts, but there should be minimal obstructions for tours inside the palace.

Funding for the project came from former Gov. Linda Lingle's 2007 executive budget.

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