How can we save energy on heating and cooling at work?

Unless you work in a factory, it’s likely that heating, cooling and ventilation use more energy than anything else. Workplaces are usually overheated or overcooled, which is as bad for the comfort and welfare of staff as it is for energy-efficiency. For every 1ºC that a workplace is overheated, 8% is added to heating costs.

Things you can do now

  • Make sure that temperature controls are set for the right times and temperatures, and that workers know how they should be used.
  • Make the most of natural cooling and ventilation. Opening windows on opposite sides of a building to create a draft, and leaving vents open at night can be very effective, provided it doesn’t create a security risk. Closing curtains and blinds at night can keep heat in or out. Encourage staff to report drafts or broken windows so they can be dealt with promptly.
  • Make sure electrical equipment is switched off when not needed – computers and other office machinery generate a great deal of heat.

Bigger ideas

  • Investment in draft-proofing, insulation or double-glazing can improve energy efficiency.
  • If your employer is looking into an office move, push for energy-efficiency to be part of the decision-making process. State-of-the-art buildings can use natural ventilation and efficient insulation to maintain a comfortable temperature.
  • Individual thermostats on radiators, or more controls for different areas can improve efficiency.

You’ll find more ideas on cutting energy use on heating and cooling in the TUC’s Go Green at Work handbook (PDF, 1.7MB).

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.