Reduce your Use - UCC's Heating Systems Overview

18 Oct 2022

Dear Colleagues,

We are starting the Reduce Your Use energy efficiency campaign with the topic of heating. Today we bring you an overview on UCC’s heating systems, operating times, system settings as well as the annual cost and consumption.

The majority of our buildings use natural gas to generate hot water which provides heat to our teaching and staff spaces. The Building & Estates office are tasked with the management of the heating systems and time schedules. With over 100 buildings under their control the team have a lot of systems to monitor. The team rely on their experience and knowledge of the buildings as well as feedback from occupants to ensure the heating systems are running correctly.

The systems are set up to closely align with the peak occupancy times, typically 08.00 to 18.00 while heating systems also run in the evenings for the areas that host night classes. The Estate team works closely with Room Bookings and General Services to ensure bookings are scheduled to maximise energy conservation by trying to limit the evening classes to a number of buildings only, thereby reducing the amount of spaces to be heated.

The heating systems in our large buildings are controlled by Building Management Systems (BMS) which allows the team to remotely monitor and adjust the system settings. The heating systems controlled by the BMS are also weather compensated which automatically adjusts the temperature setpoints based on the external temperature. Gas and heat metering systems in these buildings also allow the team to predict the gas use and cross check with the actual gas consumption, ensuring that any system faults are picked up early and gas is conserved as much as possible, without impacting on the building users. In some cases the BMS monitors the temperature in the spaces and adjusts the amount of heat to be supplied to maintain a comfortable temperature.

The heating systems in our smaller buildings are controlled locally by a time clock or via a climote unit ( These control systems are fairly basic and the heating is set up to be on or off, depending on the time of day. As we move deeper into the winter period the heating times on these systems are typically extended to cater for the drop in external temperatures.

We also have a number of buildings that are heated via heat pumps, namely WGB, Glucksman, ORB and William Thompson / Fernhurst house on College Road.

The Heating System & Schedules PDF (click to access  Heating System & Schedules) summarises the heating loads for our buildings along with the annual costs and the operating schedule for the winter of 2022/23.

As part of the nationwide ‘Reduce Your Use’ campaign as well as Government guidelines for the public sector the Estates team will be implementing the following changes:

  • The temperature of the heating systems will be reduced to 55 degrees in an effort to prevent overheating of spaces and reduce gas use.
  • Space temperature set points will be adjusted to 19 degrees, where possible.
  • Heating times will be reduced where possible.

We want to try this out and your comfort is important to us. It may not be appropriate in every space so we need to work with you to see where these measures are practical.

You can help us ensure we conserve energy while at the same time ensuring the space is comfortable for both staff and students by;

  • Wearing an extra layer of clothing if you can.
  • Report any heating faults to the Estates helpdesk at or by calling Ext 2480. (WGB, Brookfield and Tyndall occupants should contact local Facility Departments).
  • When leaving at the end of the day turn down radiators and ensure windows and doors are closed to conserve energy.

If you have any comments or suggestions please feel free to contact the Estates team.