Action on Carbon and Energy in Schools (ACES)

Spring savings on heating

As the heating season comes to an end and the weather gets warmer, it’s important to think about how to manage heating in schools to save energy.

We’re nearing the end of the heating season as days become sunnier and warmer. We’re already in the ‘shoulder months’ where heating may only be needed in shorter bursts between the peak seasons of heating and cooling. While overall comfort needs to be maintained, April and May weather may lead to more overheating, which wastes energy.

Each school will have a different approach to managing heating as we move towards switching it off until the autumn. Below are some tips to consider that will help save energy:

Temperature settings

Review times and temperature settings, looking for where heating can be on less often without impacting comfort. Some schools manage this throughout the winter, particularly when some weeks are milder than others. One option is to have heating on in the early morning, then perhaps once again around lunch. Be brave in trialling new set times!

Prevent overheating

Solar gain is the process where heat from the sun enters a building through windows and other openings, causing the indoor temperature to increase. In the context of managing heating in schools, south-facing rooms that receive direct sunlight are more likely to experience solar gain and heat up quickly, which can result in overheating if the heating system doesn’t adjust quickly enough.

To address this issue, a more dynamic approach to heating management is recommended in hot rooms, such as reducing the thermostatic radiator valves on sunnier days to prevent the room from overheating. By adjusting the valves, less heat is circulated through the radiators, which reduces the room’s temperature and maintains a comfortable environment without relying solely on the heating system. This approach can help save energy and reduce the risk of overheating during the shoulder months.

When to turn the heating off

Finally, review when and how heating is switched off completely.  What will trigger this, a specific date, a long spell of war weather? How is heating actually switched off?  Is the heating turned off via timers, a thermostat, or via the grey metal panel on/off switches in the boiler room?

No one wants an uncomfortable school, but some planning as the weather heats up will help reduce potential waste from overheating.

While it’s essential to maintain a comfortable learning environment for students, taking a proactive approach to heating management during the shoulder months can help reduce energy waste and lower your school’s carbon footprint. By being strategic and staying mindful of solar gain, you can save energy and keep your school comfortable all year round.

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