Scotland’s second oldest church gets the heating specialist treatment

Bristo Baptist church in Edinburgh is the second oldest church in Scotland. Built in 1765, the church is an incredible 251 years old, but the story almost ended there. Just a couple of years ago, the church was on the brink of closure. Luckily this ill-fated church had a miraculous resurrection of it’s own, and was given a new lease of life with the appointment of a new pastor, who managed to turn this once empty and lifeless church into a thriving and busy house of worship once again.

But with the blessing came a curse. The increased visitor numbers and the increased hours of operation, the runnings costs quickly became an issue. Because the heating system was being used beyond it’s capabilities, it soon became very inefficient, costing a huge amount to operate. Also this lack of adequate heating was becoming a real problem for worshipers and church hall users, and attendance numbers began to deteriorated. Something needed to be done to save this historic church.

That’s where the church heating specialists came in. The caretaker and warden contacted us because they have heard about our excellent work and reputation had certainly preceded us. The explained that the church was in constant use, not just by worshipers but by meeting groups, dance and fitness classes and a whole host of other people, so it was vital that not only was the work completed soon, but it had to be done quickly and to cause as little disruption as possible.

The first thing to do as always was to complete a full church survey and product heat loss calculations, and we discovered a number of problems, first of all the church roof was not insulated, also there was a lot of gaps around the windows and doors. We recommended that these problems be tackled, and double glazing was fitted. This was all taken into consideration and the church are in the process of applying for grants for this work.

The next stage was to start work on the existing heating system, it was so old and useless that almost nothing could be salvaged, our church heating engineers needed to remove a lot of the tanks, ducting, piping and wiring. Another problem was the boiler room being located at the bottom of a steep him, in the underbelly of the church, and was prone to flooding, so we installed an automated water displacement system with a submerged pump, meaning flooding was never going to be a problem again. A large old oil tank was also causing a problem, this needed to be drained and carefully chopped up and removed in sections.

The final part of the process was to install a set of wall hung high efficiency modern condensing boilers. These were matched with an electronic zone valve system, and the whole system was wired up to a WiFi smart control unit, allowing the church wardens to adjust the heating with the smartphone from anywhere in the world.

Much to the delight of the pastor, church wardens and caretaker, the work was completed in just 5 days. We worked through the night so to not disturb the day to day operations of the church.