Cathedral chooses Remeha reliability as part of major restoration project

Durham Cathedral, Europe’s most prized Norman architectural building, has chosen Remeha boilers to provide reliable, high performance, energy-efficient space heating throughout its newly refurbished monastic rooms.

Three Remeha Gas 310 Eco Pro boilers have been installed at Durham Cathedral in the latest phase of its ambitious development programme, Open Treasure. Open Treasure, which is part-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, aims to restore some of the most spectacular areas of the Cathedral, transforming them into new exhibition spaces with a variety of inspirational programmes for visitors of all ages.

Providing 21st century heating throughout the three rooms was a key part of the refurbishment, with careful consideration required in order to achieve the highest environmental and conservation standards to protect the medieval building and the rare cultural artefacts on display, including the Anglo Saxon relics of Saint Cuthbert.

Stewart Park, Technical Director at TGA Consulting Engineers explained: “When it came to specification, reliability was an important consideration due to the need to maintain continuous central heating services in these very important spaces. Ease of installation was an additional factor due to the nature of the monastic complex with its listed status and medieval fabric. We specified three Remeha Gas 310 Eco Pro boilers to meet these needs.”

The Monks’ Dormitory, renowned for its spectacular, medieval oak-beamed ceiling, has been transformed into an accessible exhibition space whilst maintaining and enhancing its key function as a library and study area. Providing the heating are two Remeha Gas 310 Eco Pro boilers, installed by contractors Vaughan Engineering Limited (VEL). These feed cast iron radiators, chosen both for their aesthetic qualities and their robustness. The system also includes locally sited convector heaters which help regulate and circulate the air to achieve comfortable conditions in the study areas.

The same two Remeha boilers also provide space heating for a new Collections Gallery, accessed through a previously hidden door from the Monks’ Dormitory. Formerly the Library Search Room, this space will hold themed and touring exhibitions, allowing the Cathedral to display more of its own prestigious collections as well as internationally-renowned artefacts on loan.

The importance of reliability and consistency of space heating is paramount to the preservation of these treasures and the buildings which contain them, and never more so than in the Great Kitchen. This ancient room has been transformed with minimal disturbance to the original stonework to hold, along with many other artefacts, the relics of St Cuthbert, one of the founders of Christianity in England. A third Remeha Gas 310 Eco Pro boiler ensures that the heating is maintained at the appropriate temperature in the Great Kitchen, one of only two surviving monastic kitchens in England.

Dave Rodley, Project Engineer at Vaughan Engineering said, “Durham Cathedral has been a prestigious yet challenging contract for VEL. We were required to extend the existing heating system with the addition of two Remeha Gas 310 Eco Pro boilers to supplement the existing Remeha Gas 310 Eco Pro boiler. As the plant room is on the first floor of one of our oldest Cathedral buildings, logistics was of prime importance. The boilers were hoisted to the first floor and then manoeuvred through a removed window, with the boilers only just fitting through the space. The compact size of the boilers enabled this to be carried out safely and efficiently. The boilers were commissioned successfully by GFA Gastech. All in all, a good job.”

Tom Billington, Property and Facilities Manager at Durham Cathedral, said: “Open Treasure is one of the most complex projects ever undertaken in an English Cathedral and we have encountered numerous challenges along the way. One of the most pressing challenges has been the need to provide suitable environmental conditions for the preservation and conservation of our internationally renowned collections, the earliest of which date back to the sixth century. It is a privilege to work with prestigious companies such as Remeha to ensure we meet these standards and maintain and preserve our priceless collections for generations to come.”

Open Treasure is due to open in 2016. The project received a £3.9m grant from Heritage Lottery Fund in 2013. The Consultant Architect was Purcell; the Exhibition Designer was Studio MB. The M&E Consultant was TGA Consulting Engineers, Durham; the M&E Contractor was Vaughan Engineering, led by Dave Rodley.

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