Archive Film Stores in the Global South: Can They Combine Film Preservation with Sustainability?

Elli Nikolaidou, Harrison King, David Coley

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Preserving films means preserving the history and cultural heritage of countries, but also increasing the competitiveness of their film industry. Although archive film stores can contribute to this vision, there is still a lack of such facilities due to the absence of an adequate budget for their construction and operation. Given that their operational cost can be very high due to the need to store films at low temperatures and relative humidity levels, identifying sustainable engineering solutions is of critical importance, especially in the case of the developing countries in the Global South that are more likely to face tight budgets. Various construction-side and service-side solutions were hence tested to help film stores achieve net zero and consequently eliminate both their operational costs and emissions, while preventing films from degrading. Film stores in the Global South were found to have the potential to be net zero carbon (or even carbon negative) in their operation, this being however subject to a hot and humid climate due to the sensitivity of solutions to climatic conditions. Construction materials such as the insulating concrete form or phase change materials can help film stores reduce their operational costs and emissions, but also increase their resilience to the common phenomenon of power outages thanks to their ability to passively control air temperatures. Using an efficient cooling system is then needed to ensure that the aspired temperatures are always achieved and thus films are preserved. Harnessing the renewable energy potential of the building site with the help of renewable systems such as photovoltaics, is finally required to attain net zero. Predicting the performance of solutions during the design process can support designers in making informed decisions about the construction and operation of film stores, and ultimately optimising their performance in real life.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationJournal of Film Preservation
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2021


  • Film stores
  • Sustainability
  • Net zero carbon


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