A world first for Bath Abbey with a heating system powered by the city's spring waters

The new underfloor heating system powered by the city's springs is a world first. Credit: Bath Abbey

Bath's world famous hot spring waters are being used to heat the city's historic Abbey using revolutionary new technology.

The new under floor heating system is being switched on this week, and will replace the Abbey's Victorian heating system.

A network of ten underground "heat exchangers" will collect heat from the 1.1 million litres of thermal spring water that flows through the Roman drain, beneath York Street, every day

That water stays a constant 40 degrees all year round, providing enough energy to heat the Abbey and some nearby cottages and offices.

The new eco heating system has been installed under the floor of the Abbey. Credit: Bath Abbey

Canon Guy Bridgewater, Rector of Bath Abbey, said: "Previously the Abbey heating system, which dates back to the Victorian era, was energy inefficient and expensive to maintain; but now instead we’re able to harness this previously unused natural resource.

"One of the Abbey’s guiding purposes is to help treasure, sustain and renew God’s creation; and I rejoice that by working together with the many funding, design and engineering partners involved in our Footprint project, we can wonderfully reduce our carbon footprint and become more responsible stewards of the planet’s resources.”

Edward Levien, Commercial Director at Isoenergy who installed the new system, said: “We’re very proud of our work on this heat pump project, understood to be the first of its kind, which will source its energy from Bath’s world-famous hot springs.

Working in the Roman Drain’s humid and confined environment brought a new set of challenges for our engineers. We had to do the work in short 20-minute sections as that is as long as a person can safely and effectively work down there.

Edward Levien, Isoenergy

"What’s more, we could only get all the equipment down into the drain through a manhole inspection cover on York Street, and it all then had to be lowered the ~7m to the floor of the Great Drain.

 “However, these are all minor inconveniences when we consider this remarkable achievement - we’re very proud of our team and how hard they’ve worked to deliver this system that’ll enable the Abbey to be heated with sustainable and low-carbon energy for generations to come.”