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Heating Policy

University-owned Accommodation

Purpose statement

Accommodation Services is committed to providing you with a comfortable internal residential living environment that complies with health and safety requirements, as well as minimising CO2 emissions and the associated costs which arise from the operation of heating systems across residences.

Applicability and scope

This policy applies to all University Owned Accommodation.

This policy should be read in conjunction with our Inconvenience payment policy and Information for Students with Families


  • heating season - when heating will be provided in residences
  • heating temperature set point - what the internal temperature should be
  • heating times - how the heating is operated over a 24-hour cycle
  • thermal comfort - a person’s state of mind in terms of whether they feel too hot or too cold

Policy aims

Heating season

Heating will be enabled in all residences throughout the academic year including vacations, when occupied by students or conference/other guests. A seasonal heating policy has been produced to provide thermal comfort at different periods of the year in line with our climate. Heating will be switched off when residences are unoccupied eg during the summer vacation.


October, November

12 hours a day


December, January, February, March

14 hours a day


April, May

10 hours a day


June, July, August, September

Hot water only

Heating temperature set point

During the period of occupation, we will aim to maintain bedrooms and communal areas at a temperature of 21°C during the heating time period. Circulation spaces within residences eg corridors and stairwells will be heated to a lower set point of 18°C during the heating time period.

Heating times

Heating in residences is provided during the hours shown below to maintain the standard thermal comfort. In the event of extreme adverse weather, there may be variations to the times shown below.

Autumn – 12 hours a day

Monday – Friday 07.00 – 11.00 and 15.00 – 23.00

Saturday & Sunday 08.00 – 11.00 and 14.00 – 23.00

Winter – 14 hours a day

Monday – Friday 07.00 – 12.00 and 14.00 – 23.00

Saturday & Sunday 08.00 – 12.00 and 13.00 – 23.00

Spring – 10 hours a day

Monday – Friday 7.00 – 11.00 and 16.00 – 22.00

Saturday & Sunday 8.00 – 11.00 and 15.00 – 22.00


Monday – Friday – Hot water only Saturday & Sunday – Hot water only

Most of our residences’ heating systems are controlled by a sophisticated building management system (BMS), which can detect both internal and external temperatures which allows further control of the heating system. For example, the BMS will switch off radiator systems when external temperatures exceed 16°C as above this temperature, internal heat gains from people, appliances etc. should be sufficient to maintain (internal) temperatures at around 21°.

Thermal comfort

What constitutes a comfortable temperature is subjective to each individual and is based on several factors, such as air temperature, radiant temperature and humidity. Most people achieve ‘thermal comfort’ at around 21ºC. As the student community within residences come from a variety of countries where the climate differs significantly from that of the UK, we realise that not everyone will achieve thermal comfort at 21°C. Residents should therefore dress appropriately for their own preference

Energy conservation

Reducing the carbon footprint of the University is an important strategic aim. A key priority for Accommodation Services is the reduction of our direct and indirect emissions within University Owned Accommodation.

During your time in our accommodation, we will be working with you to help achieve these aims. This will include:

  • ensuring you know how to operate the heating system effectively and are aware of your responsibilities outlined in your Tenancy Terms and Conditions

  • encouraging you to engage with the ResAction sustainability campaigns
  • not allowing the use of portable heating appliances in your accommodation

We provide heating controls, such as thermostatic radiator valves (TRV’s), which allow you to adjust the temperature in your room. In some cases, these will also switch off the heating when your room is unoccupied or a window is opened. Where these more advanced controls are not installed it is your responsibility to operate your heating in a responsible way.

Opening the window when the heating is on wastes energy – turn down the heating using the controls (eg TRV’s) provided.

All new build projects, refurbishments and improvement works will meet agreed specifications to improve sustainability.

Our responsibilities

The University will maintain our residential accommodation to ensure that there is adequate heating for each bedroom, WC/shower area, communal area and circulation space.

All reported repairs will be dealt with promptly and in accordance with the Estates & Facilities Service Level Standards.

Accommodation Services will provide you with temporary heating and/or alternate accommodation where heating is lost. Under certain circumstances an ‘Inconvenience Payment’ may be made – see our Inconvenience payment policy for details.

Policy Implementation Date: April 2016
Last revision: September 2022
Next Review Date: June 2023
Policy Owner: Senior Management Team, Accommodation Services