Sustainable UCL


Heating and cooling systems

Our aim is to provide a comfortable working temperature for our staff and students while reducing our impact on the environment.

heating pipes

1 July 2020

Keeping our buildings warm in the winter and cool in the summer is responsible for more than half of UCL’s total carbon footprint, leading to over 40,000 tonnes of CO2 every year. That’s equivalent to 4,000 homes energy use and it would take over a million trees to absorb that much CO2. 

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Heating and cooling policy 

To tackle the problem of energy wasted through excessive heating or cooling UCL has developed a Heating and Cooling Policy.  

The policy has been developed by UCL Estates, utilising expertise from the UCL Energy Institute, and the guidelines match good practice across the Higher Education sector. This policy was endorsed by UCL’s Estates Senior Management Team. 

The policy describes UCL’s policy for heating, cooling and ventilating spaces within the University in line with the University’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy and Health and Safety Policy.

Key headlines

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UCL has an historic estate and we are in the process of upgrading some of our older heating systems. In the short term, these spaces may continue to experience problems due to building condition or use of space; however the new policy makes it easier to identify areas where adjustments to controls or repairs to equipment will have the greatest effect.

  • In winter, autumn and spring UCL will aim to maintain spaces at a temperature of 19 - 21°C while they are occupied. Both of these ranges are in line with guidance from the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers.
  • If you think your space is consistently below 19 degrees please request a thermometer strip from estates.energy@ucl.ac.uk to check your room temperature before logging a service request
  • Only use electric heaters provided by UCL Estates. Using electric heaters can cause false high temperatures by the control system preventing other parts of the building being heated and may represent a fire risk. 

Air conditioning

  • Wherever possible natural ventilation, for example openable windows, will be used to keep spaces cool.
  • Air conditioning will only be provided where temperatures regularly exceed 28°C, for example due to high occupancy levels or heat generated by equipment.
  • Where air conditioning is provided UCL will keep temperatures below 25°C.
  • If you feel that your space frequently exceeds 28ºC (e.g. consistently over the summer) we will install temperature logging to understand the temperatures. If approved, the system would be paid for by your Department. Air conditioning request form 

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When will heating or cooling be provided?

  • We will keep teaching, research and office spaces at a comfortable temperature between 8.00am - 6.00pm, Monday to Friday.
  • Student spaces, libraries and residences will be heated/cooled according to their current opening hours.
  • Where there are regularly late teaching hours or events taking place, these will be accommodated. You will need to complete and out of hours heating and cooling request form (xls)
  • Laboratories and other spaces which require specific temperatures in order to conduct research will not be altered.

    Read more on our Energy and Carbon pages​ →

      Carbon Data for your building

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      We’d love your help to reduce this energy use and so we’ve made our carbon and energy data available for each of our buildings. 
      To gain access please access the Fabriq platform using UCL_Energy_Data as username and password. 
      > Find your building's carbon emissions through Fabriq