Putting a ‘Hot’ Spring in your step at Bath Abbey!

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On  the evening of Wednesday 9th March we gathered in the intimate and stunning location of the Corporation Stalls in Bath Abbey for the Go Green Bath launch! We explored the fascinating story of the Bath Abbey Footprint project, policy for renewables and energy efficiency tips, whilst experiencing the ancient Abbey surroundings…

Charles Curnock – Bath Abbey

First up we heard from Charles Curnock about the ambitious plans of the Footprint project to reduce energy and future proof the Abbey.

There are over 8,500 people buried under the Abbey floor! Over the years, this has created voids as the graves decay and soon, without improvements, the floor would collapse! The Footprint project includes stabilizing the ground beneath the Abbey floor and tapping into Bath’s greatest natural resource to heat the abbey – the energy from the ancient hot springs.

We also heard about huge energy efficiency improvements as the chandelier lighting has been replaced by LED lights whilst keeping the original grand design features.

Bath Abbey also have ambitious plans to make the most of their large roof space and install Solar PV to fuel the heat pumps. There are also exciting plans to adapt the interior of the Abbey , open a new Song School for the Choirs and create a new contemporary interpretation center which will be a hub for learning, activities and projects. Watch the short video clip below to find out more!

Neil Francis – BuroHappold

Next Neil Francis from BuroHappold delved deeper into the heroic engineering project that will capture energy from the ancient springs and heat the Abbey.

He explained the current problems the Abbey are facing with old and inadequate heating systems and a collapsing floor. Underfloor heating is the most efficient solution as it can be combined with reinforcing the floor; it won’t disrupt the beautiful architecture and monuments surrounding the Abbey walls and this will heat the low level of the Abbey.

An incredible one million litres a day flows into the River Avon from the ancient hot springs at around 45C – providing huge potential for heating!

Discover Bath Abbey Footprint Project

Chloe Bines – Eunomia

Chloe gave us a low down on the journey of our low carbon climate policy. COP21 was hailed as an important turning point coupled with the UK’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gases by 20% by 2020.

Then Chloe took us through the good, the bad and the ugly! Despite these significant and positive turning points, there have been some ‘ugly’ developments in the renewable policy landscape…

The Ugly…

  • Subsidies for large wind & solar have been scrapped
  • The Zero Carbon Homes scheme has been scrapped
  • The Green Deal Finance has also been scrapped

The Bad… 

  • Substantial reductions to the FIT subsidies
  • £40 million reduction in energy efficiency budget
  • Minister’s reset speech focused on new gas

However, there are some positive developments for renewable energy and efficiency…

The Good…

  • Business energy tax reforms are coming
  • RHI will continue to 2021 and there has been a big growth in the supply chain, making it a competitive market with good value for money – Renewable Heat technologies can work very well with underfloor heating
  • A greater role for Demand Side Reduction (DSR) & storage
  • LED light bulbs have a short pay back period and are a simple solution
  • Renewables still make financial sense even though subsidies have been cut!

Chloe said that it’s still hard for SMEs to access funding and support for renewable technologies. However this is where Go Green can help by pooling resources, developing your Action Plan and linking to other organisations that can provide advice. 

Richard Hellen – Hermes Energy Services

Lastly, we heard some invaluable hints and tips on energy management from sustainable energy expert, Richard Hellen, Director of Hermes Energy Services.

Richard gave us a useful framework to assess our energy – Be Mean, Be Lean, Be Green!

Be Mean…

Be Lean…

  • LED lighting has a short pay back time and is worth doing!
  • Replacing inefficient boilers can have a big impact
  • Installing heat recovery systems is worth exploring

Be Green…

  • Solar PV is still worth considering, despite the cuts in subsidies
  • Small scale hydro is a sector that is growing
  • Biomass boilers and heating systems can be relevant to SMEs


  • Energy Modelling – Plot your monthly energy use so that you can create a baseline and begin to measure patterns, drivers and inefficiencies
  • Benchmarking – how do you compare with your business sector?
  • SMEs have the same opportunities as large organisations to monitor and manage their energy! Low Carbon South West can help here, in connecting to organisations in the low carbon sector that can help businesses achieve improvements in smart energy management.

To see the presenters’ slides please follow the links below. 

Charles Curnock on the Bath Abbey Footprint Project

Neil Francis from BuroHappold on Bath Abbey Footprint – Sustainable Heating

Richard Hellen from Hermes Energy Services on Energy Management for SMEs

Chloe Bines from Eunomia on Low Carbon Energy Policy and Opportunities