Biblioteca Ambrosiana (Ambrosiana Library, Milan, Italy) is installing UVC Emitters™ from Steril-Aire, Inc., to protect an historic exhibit of the Atlantic Codex drawings by Leonardo da Vinci.

BURBANK, Calif. - Once again, HVAC know-how is helping to preserve some priceless materials. Steril-Aire Inc., manufacturer of germicidal ultraviolet C (UVC) devices, and Italian distributor IMACO International Manufacturing Corp., are installing the manufacturer’s UVC Emitters™ at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana (Ambrosiana Library, Milan, Italy), to protect an historic exhibit of the Atlantic Codex drawings by Leonardo da Vinci.

The library-museum, which has guarded and preserved the Leonardo collection since 1637, is bringing thousands of drawings out of the vault and unbinding them for their first-ever public display in Milan and later in exhibitions all over the world.

“After extensive research, we determined that Steril-Aire UVC technology offers the best option for preserving these 500-year-old documents against the potential ravages of mold and bacteria that travel through building air-handling systems,” said Giorgio Ricchebuono, president of the Cardinal Federico Borromeo Foundation, whose aim is to help the Ambrosiana Library to present and preserve its priceless cultural treasures.

“The UVC devices provide a constant germicidal cleansing action to keep building air clean and free of harmful microbes.”


In exchange for providing the high-output UVC devices for the installation in collaboration with IMACO, Steril-Aire has been named the exclusive sponsor for UVC and air quality for the Atlantic Codex exhibition.

When parts of the collection go on tour to other major museums across the world - as expected - Ambrosiana will encourage the directors of these facilities to install UVC to preserve the collection.

According to Steril-Aire president Robert Scheir, “Our multi-patented devices are proven to protect building occupants and contents against the damaging effects of mold, bacteria, and other microorganisms that grow in and circulate through air-handling systems. We are excited and honored that our technology is to play a vital, behind-the-scenes role in safeguarding this historic exhibition.”

The devices use the C wavelength of the UV spectrum to target the DNA of mold, bacteria, and viruses, destroying the cells or making it impossible for them to replicate. The devices are installed in air-handling systems opposite the coil. Studies have shown that UVC has a dramatic impact on mold proliferation, reducing the growth of mold by more than 99 percent.


The 1,119-page Atlantic Codex is the largest collection of Leonardo’s drawings, embracing his thoughts and contributions to the arts and sciences from 1478 to 1519.

Because the collection is so extensive, it is on display over a six-year period that began in September 2009, and will continue through 2015. Throughout this time, 22 pages will be exhibited for three months, and then replaced by new drawings in each of two locations in Milan.

Ambrosiana Library officials noted that UVC technology is an important element in a total protection strategy that also includes unbreakable temperature-controlled display cases with sensors, a 24/7 surveillance system, state-of-the-art anti-intrusion technology, and an internal fire protection system.

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Publication date:04/19/2010