The heating in schools is normally provided by gas boilers often centrally housed in a ‘boiler room’ and controlled by a ‘boiler controller’. In an energy efficient school this boiler only comes on during school days, perhaps at about 6:00am in order to get the school up to temperature at 8:00am when school staff start to arrive and then turns off again at 3:00pm just before the school closes for the day.
The temperature in the school is generally automatically controlled in two ways:
- a thermostat, often installed centrally which turns the boiler on or off depending on whether the room in which the thermostat has been installed reaches the set point temperature
- TRVs – thermostatic radiator valves, installed on each radiator which turn the radiators off when a room reaches a temperature set by the TRV
Additionally, windows are manually opened to further control the temperature.
Unfortunately in most schools the automatic and manual management of heating doesn’t work well, and it can easily be improved to save costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve comfort levels. At most schools there are opportunities to save 25% of heating costs at no or relatively low cost.
What you can do
- Make sure boilers are switched off over holidays and weekends
- Make sure boilers are not coming on too early or stay on too late, after the school has closed.
- Reduce classroom temperatures. We recommend that school thermostats are set to 18C. For every 1C above the recommended 18C the school’s heating bill increases by about 10%.
- Improve thermostatic control by moving any centralised thermostats away from corridors or halls which are hard to heat.
- Make sure doors and windows are closed when the heating is on.