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Credit - Jubilee Pool Penzance Ltd.
Credit - Jubilee Pool Penzance Ltd.

Jubilee Pool

Penzance, Cornwall, England

Client - Jubilee Pool Penzance Ltd.

Green innovation brings year-round joy to the Penzance community

Jubilee Pool was opened in 1935, at a time when Art Deco outdoor lidos were extremely fashionable, and has been a regional landmark ever since. Located in Penzance, at the far end of Cornwall, the pool is the largest of only five surviving seawater lidos in the UK and sits in a commanding position with views across Mount’s Bay to St Michael’s Mount. Much celebrated, the pool has for generations provided safe access to seawater swimming for people of all ages, as well as a range of water-based activities and sports.

In 2014, the pool was hit by a devastating storm, resulting in significant damage. Upon its re-opening in 2016, it had become clear that a new plan was needed to secure the pool’s future. Jubilee Pool Penzance Limited, a charitable Community Benefit Society, was established and took control of the lido in 2017, ensuring that the pool would be run for the community, by the community. However, to achieve financial sustainability, the project team needed to look at ways in which the pool could remain open for more than four months per year, reducing its dependence on warm weather.

In 2018, the group launched an ambitious fundraising Community Share offer to geothermally heat a section of the pool, which could bring in paying swimmers throughout the year.

Working with engineers from Geothermal Engineering Ltd. the team designed and constructed an innovative geothermal system, which is the first of its kind in the UK - via its own 410m deep geothermal well, Jubilee Pool is heated to 30-35 degrees. The system operates by extracting warm water from the deep well. Taking heat out of that water using heat pumps, the system distributes this warmth to the pool via a heat exchanger, before re-injecting the cooler water from the pool’s surface back into the ground. This combined system means that the temperature of the pool can be sustained year-round with a very low carbon footprint.


To be exact, Jubilee Pool saves 507 tonnes of CO2 each year, while a conventional gas heating system would use 715 tonnes of CO2 in that same time period.  


Nearly £540,000 of the £1.8m funding for Jubilee Pool came through community shares and the Power to Change. The Architectural Heritage Fund provided the largest-ever loan from our Heritage Impact Fund to the project, and Cooperative Community Investment Fund stepped in to offer the rest. Together, the community and funders have enabled Jubilee Pool to become a year-round operation, creating a unified ‘hospitality zone’ along the pool’s top terrace comprising of a café, reception area, and retail and community/event space.

The Jubilee Pool project has balanced local need and tourism potential to create an environmentally and financially sustainable, year-round attraction using innovative green technology.


Andy Richardson, Head of Investment at the Architectural Heritage Fund said:

"The first-of-its-kind geothermal pool is an excellent example of how heritage sites can use new green technology to benefit their communities. We were really pleased to support Jubilee Pool with significant long-term social investment allowing them to develop the site and provide an environmentally sustainable year-round visitor offer. We hope other sites and social businesses can be inspired by, and learn from, ground-breaking projects such as this one."

Susan Stuart, Chair of Directors at Jubilee Pool said:

"Jubilee Pool is thrilled to be recognised for the environmental impact of our geothermal pool. This achievement is the result of countless hours of work from our team and an engaged community of local people and far-flung supporters with a desire to create positive change. We believe that the protection of a heritage asset is not mutually exclusive with environmentally focused innovation; the historical significance of Jubilee Pool played a fundamental role in securing the support required for the geothermal pool."

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