Wattcraft has provided troubleshooting and technical services for a biomass/natural gas heating system at St Giles’ Cripplegate Church. This has included:


St Giles’s Cripplegate biomass boiler

St Giles’s Cripplegate biomass boiler

 The existing biomass boiler system at St Giles’s Cripplegate church, after an initial period of operation further to commissioning, developed problems with its operation. Wattcraft reviewed the design and installation and supported the Church in coordinating an approach to rectification, engaging constructively as far as possible with those involved in the original project. The boiler was brought back into operational order in technical terms, but safety issues were identified that meant investment was required for the plant to continue with operation. In the end a decision was made by the church that the cost of the proposed rectification measures, including changes to the flue system to meet current standards, outweighed the revenue benefit of ongoing operation, in part due to the uncertainty of securing retrospective registration for Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI payments). The mothballing of renewable energy heat supply was a disappointment, but safety and economics were paramount in the decision-making.

Wattcraft also helped solve problems with the gas-fired boiler system, including overseeing repair of the flue dilution system and rectification of the weather-compensated control system.

Wattcraft helped with optimisation of the Church heating control settings through undertaking a temperature and humidity monitoring programme. It was critical to take into account the conservation of the organ integrity through ensuring that the temperature and humidity levels resulting from the control settings optimisation were within the required ranges for the organ, to prevent damage.

The gas-boiler plant room and connected heating system was found to be essentially sound in its design and implementation and many of the problems the Church had been experiencing were through lack of suitable support in the maintenance of the system. Wattcraft worked with the Church Treasurer and Caretaker in finding suitable contractors for maintenance and in setting up the service and maintenance contract for ongoing maintenance with minimisation of disruption. An important source of revenue for the Church is through hiring out the space for events, including concerts, as well as recordings by the BBC. Therefore this had to be taken into account in the economic modelling of energy system improvement measures, as well as energy and plant costs, recognising that ongoing consistency of internal environmental conditions was very important.

Churches have a wide range of different uses and the establishment of those uses in each case is critical to the selection and operation of the energy systems serving the church.