Skip to main content

Thermal comfort policy

This policy document sets out proposals to determine the heating season, internal temperature range and hours buildings will be heated.


Stephen Andrews
Approval date
14 Nov 2023
Approved by
Date of last review
Information not provided
Date of next review
14 Nov 2024


The University of Bath Climate Action Framework has 11 principles which set out our commitment to responding to climate change. The first of these principles is Carbon emissions reduction, specifically the commitment of the university to being Net Zero Carbon in its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030.

An important part of achieving this primary principle is achieving good control over our use and consumption of gas and electricity. Most of the University’s gas consumption provides space heating for nearly all buildings and at present the University does not have an agreed policy on building internal temperatures and heating times. Many buildings are heated above required temperatures for longer than is needed. This Thermal Comfort policy document sets out proposals to determine the heating season, internal temperature range and hours buildings will be heated, thereby reducing energy consumption, costs and associated CO2 emissions.


The University aims to control the temperature within the university buildings within certain parameters to provide a comfortable working environment for staff and students, and to comply with Health and Safety requirements while minimising carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and costs arising from the operation of heating systems.

Heating season

The heating season is from 1 October to 31 March. Outside of the heating season, should internal space temperatures drop dramatically due to abnormal weather conditions, Campus Infrastructure will actively monitor conditions and consider if the heating systems should be switched on. The decision-making process will balance factors including internal temperatures, availability of heating systems (which are maintained during the summer and are not always available), the weather forecast and cost/environmental impacts. Should the weather be unusually warm then the start of the heating season may be delayed, or the end of the heating season may be earlier than usual.

Heating in buildings other than accommodation

The target internal temperature range for occupied rooms is 18°C to 20°C during their core operational hours of 08:00 to 19:00 hours, Monday to Friday, during term time. This is above the H&SE recommended minimum of 16°C. Certain buildings that have operational hours that differ from these core hours will have either extended heating hours or continuous heating as appropriate.

The Library will be heated 24/7 for study.

We will monitor demand, and should it be needed, additional study spaces will also be heated outside the hours of 8am to 7pm, Monday to Friday or weekends.

Note that the space should be at the target temperature at the start and end of occupancy. This may result in the radiators becoming cool prior to the end of occupancy provided the space temperature is maintained within the range specified above. Similarly, on days that are expected to be warm, heating may not come on where it is assessed that temperatures will rise quickly to the target levels during the working day. This reduces heating consumption and the risk of overheating the building later in the day.

Heating in University accommodation except Polden, The Quads & Green Park House

All heating is switched off overnight, but the aim is to keep a minimum temperature within each room of 16°C and a maximum of 21°C during the hours of 7am to 11.59pm.

The radiators may only be warm to the touch and could go off completely should the internal temperature reach 21°C . The heating will be switched off in the summer months.

Heating in Polden, The Quads & Green Park House accommodation

The heating system in the bedroom is set at:

  • LOW = 18°C
  • MED = 19°C
  • HIGH = 20°C
  • BOOST = 21°C

The sensor is on the front of the thermostat. This identifies the occupation of the room by movement and CO2 levels. The heating will turn off if the sensor does not detect room occupation for 30 minutes or if the window is open. The heating will turn back on automatically when occupied and window is shut.

Mechanical Ventilation

Mechanical ventilation, for example the provision of conditioned air to lecture theatres, will only be provided during core operational hours of 08:00 to 19:00 hours, Monday to Friday.

Requests for Heating or Mechanical Ventilation outside of core hours

If heating or mechanical ventilation is required outside of core operational hours this can be requested as follows:

  1. Any bookings notified by the Timetabling and Room Booking system to Campus Infrastructure helpdesk during the heating season will result in heating times being set for the period requested; note that Timetabling will try to restrict such room bookings to a limited number of buildings that can be heated most efficiently. A minimum notice period of five working days is required when booking, unless it is an emergency.
  2. For other requests or longer-term changes, for example when a whole department’s operating hours are outside the standard working day, by completing an exemption request form stating the area and times of occupation. Requests should be endorsed by the requestor's Head of Department or Faculty. It is expected that consideration will be given, by Head of Department or Faculty or their nominees, on how best to manage the use of buildings out of core hours to minimise the need for additional heating, for example by concentrating out of hours use in one building.

Expectation on Users of the University

It is expected that occupants of buildings will take reasonable measures to adapt to the environment by wearing suitable clothing and show due tolerance and understanding, especially if they are in buildings that were not constructed to modern standards.

It is also expected that individuals will:

  1. Keep heat in the building by closing doors and windows as appropriate.

  2. Ensure radiators and convectors are not blocked with furniture, clothing, towels etc.

  3. Report areas of over/under heating to the Campus Infrastructure helpdesk.

  4. Understand that outside of core operational hours it may be unrealistic to expect a whole building to be heated/mechanically ventilated if there are only a small number of staff who wish to be in the building; many of our buildings have systems that are either on or off for the whole building and cannot be controlled to room level.

  5. Accept that their view of an acceptable temperature may not be the same as other users of the building.

  6. Contact your HR Advisor if further provision for medical reasons is required.

Expectations on Campus Infrastructure

To maintain levels of thermal comfort, the Campus Infrastructure will:

  1. Investigate complaints of over and under heating promptly and provide feedback.
  2. In instances where the temperature aims are met and thermal discomfort is still perceived (e.g. due to drafts) Campus Infrastructure will examine the feasibility of making improvements to the area. However, especially in older buildings options may be limited and physical limitations may prevent their adoption.
  3. If temperature standards are being exceeded when the heating is operating, Campus Infrastructure will take reasonable measures to reduce temperatures.

Portable Heaters

The use of portable electrical heaters can result in the conventional heating within the building shutting down and such heaters can pose safety risks as well as incurring significant costs and CO2 emissions. If, following an investigation into reported under temperature conditions, it is found that the use of portable heaters is appropriate they will be provided by Campus Infrastructure; such heaters will be Portable Appliance Tested thermostatically controlled oil-filled radiators. Individuals are not permitted to bring in/purchase their own portable heaters and, if found, these may be removed during routine health & safety inspections.

On this page