Things are heating up at Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey Visitor Centre, North Yorkshire

Fountains Abbey’s former Cistercian residents would approve of the latest clean energy project at the historical spot, near Ripon in Yorkshire. The World Heritage Site, which was once a self-sustainable hub, is now partly powered by the sun’s warmth following the recent completion of a ground source heat pump.

Founded in 1132, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden welcomes more than 335,000 visitors a year and is the highest energy user of the places we look after in the North East.
The new heat pump transfers heat, which has been absorbed by coils buried in the ground, underneath an overflow car park to the visitor centre. It means the visitor centre is no longer dependent on gas for heating and hot water, which helps support our ambition to halve fossil fuel use across the places we look after by 2020.
Tony Price, our environment advisor for the North East, said: 'The thing about heat pumps is that once you get them in, they just sit in the corner and work. It costs a lot of money to run a place like Fountains Abbey so if we can do simple things like this to save money and cut our fossil fuel use, then we’re helping to protect it forever.'
There are plenty more energy efficient measures planned, and a mission to swap 150 halogen spotlights with low energy LED equivalents is already underway and expected to save 80 per cent in electricity used for lighting - that’s the equivalent of £1,600 a year which will be spent on conservation instead of energy bills.
The view over the Half Moon Pond and weir of Studley Royal Water Garden towards Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire

Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire

The remains of this 12th-century Cistercian abbey are incorporated into the landscape of Studley Royal where the original mill ponds and a medieval deer park can still be found. This special place is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.