As a nation we Brits are fiercely proud of our heritage properties, and rightly so. With an incredible 61 million visits paid to these cultural gems every year, they’re a hugely important part of our community. According to a recent study by Historic England, they’re also great for our wellbeing – those of us who visit heritage sites a few times a year are happier and calmer, no doubt because we’re taking a moment to step away from the pressures of modern life.
We need to capitalise on this happiness goldmine by making the visitor experience the best it possibly can be, but spending time in these ancient buildings often isn’t very comfortable. TripAdvisor, the go-to site for travel reviews, is littered with complaints from people who’ve visited our beautiful historic theatres only to find them “boiling” and “too hot to enjoy the show”, all because the heating can’t be properly controlled. What a shame to be talking about that, instead of the dazzling performance.
On the other hand, our many ancient churches and chapels are notoriously chilly. The vaulted ceilings and thick stone walls that give them their character also make them hard to heat. The upshot is that they can be draughty and unwelcoming, especially for elderly visitors. Anyone with numb toes isn’t likely to linger and marvel at the stained glass windows.
Thankfully though, it is possible to bring heritage buildings firmly into the 21st Century. Priva specialise in future-proofing our architectural gems, by sensitively installing user-friendly climate management systems. These give managers the power to flexibly control the existing heating system from a central computer. With the touch of a button, rooms can be made warmer or cooler.
Priva’s technology has recently revolutionised the visitor experience at 15th Century Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, which found worldwide fame when it was featured in the Hollywood blockbuster, The Da Vinci Code. Temperatures here average 5°C in winter, but the visitor centre remains cosy.
And thanks to Priva, audiences at the Theatre Royal in Bath can enjoy a production right through to the curtain call, without being distracted by stifling heat. Previously, the heating could only be adjusted if a manager rushed back and forth between the plant rooms in each of the three auditoriums. Now, any part of the system can be adjusted remotely, with the click of a button.
Likewise, the two-million-plus visitors who visit the awe-inspiring Westminster Abbey each year are being kept at an ambient 20°C. Now, if the complex heating system develops a fault, a quick scan on a computer reveals the root cause, saving man-hours in trying to find and fix the problem.
With snow in March, rain in August and hot Indian summers, our country’s weather is increasingly unpredictable, but at least Priva’s technology means we can fully enjoy immersing ourselves in our architectural treasures.
Priva’s book ‘Future-proofing Britain’s Historic Buildings’ is packed into information explaining how their technology has transformed the visitor experience at some of our most beloved heritage sites. For a copy, call +44 (0)1923 813 480 or firstname.lastname@example.org