Bath Abbey has kicked off a project to heat itself using water from Bath’s famous hot springs.
The project – the first of its kind – will source its energy for a ground source heat pump which will use the water that flows out of the Roman Baths in the centre of the city.
The work is a central part of the Abbeys £19.3m ‘Footprint’ refurbishment project.
Renewable energy company Isoenergy today kicked off the first phase of the project by beginging exploring and surveying the ‘Great Roman drain’.
The abbey’s Victorian heating system is sadly outdated, inefficient and expensive to maintain. This combined with the work we’re doing as part of our Footprint project to repair the abbey’s collapsing floor makes this the ideal time for us to install a new underfloor heating system and is a truly exciting way of using Bath’s most famous resource to create sustainable energy.” Alix Gilmer, Footprint’s project director
Isoenergy will work with Wheelers of Westbury and Emery Building Contractors to complete the design and installation of the system.
The scheme will utilise the 1.1 million litres of 37-degree water that flows through the Roman Baths each day.
Currently, most of that water travels straight past the Abbey and into the river Avon via a subterranean Roman drain.
Why not use an underfloor heating system?
While thermal spring water was used by the Romans to heat the bathhouse at the centre of the city (the ‘Roman Baths’) this water is corrosive making it unsuitable to use in a modern underfloor heating system.
This is due to high levels of sulphates and chlorides in the water.
Instead, the modern project will use heat exchangers to extract energy from the water before it flows into the cities river.
Isoenergy intend to raise the water level in a section of the drain using an internal weir and install corrosion-resistant custom built EnergyBlade heat exchangers within the flow of the drain.
This will extract the heat providing the source energy for the 200kW ground source heat pump system. This will then provide energy for the new underfloor heating in the Abbey.
The scheme should produce 1.5MW of continuous energy by using the spring water.