Spa water from Roman Baths to be used to heat buildings

  • Watch Victoria Davies' report

Spa water from the Roman Baths will be used to heat surrounding buildings in a new sustainability scheme.

The hot spring water at the Roman Baths has been flowing through the city for thousands of years, but now the Baths will tap into the spa water's natural energy to heat its buildings.

The technology is a world first and means the tourist attraction will be able to use its own natural energy resource to create sustainable energy.

Most of the project - which involved working in underground vaults - has been completed outside the public eye. Pipework was installed throughout the building during the closure of the Baths due to the Covid pandemic.

Heat exchangers will capture the energy of the hot spring water at the Baths so it can heat its buildings in a more environmentally- friendly way.

Robert Campbell, Head of Heritage Services for Bath and North East Somerset Council said he was pleased to see this new scheme.

"This was an incredibly innovative place in Roman times and one of the most amazing Bath houses in the Roman Empire and it's really nice to bring modern day innovation to this place now", he said.

For thousands of years the naturally-occurring thermal springs have been said to have health benefits. But for engineers, the water rich with minerals has been problematic.

Senior Mechanical Engineer John Standivan said: "The water's quite challenging because its unique composition and properties is quite corrosive and it clogs up pumps and pipes."

He added that mechanics have had to resort to using high grade metals so that they don't corrode in the spring water.

In a few weeks it is hoped the sustainable energy will be able to heat the Roman Baths and neighbouring buildings.

Cllr Dine Romero from Bath and North East Somerset Council said: "It's a really exciting project and it's part of our commitment towards net zero, and by capturing the heat that comes out of the bath, we are able to then heat buildings in the future and making a saving of 30 tonnes of carbon every year."

The project replaces a much smaller heat exchange scheme installed in 1993.