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Visit Scotland | Alba

Become more sustainable with your heating and cooling settings

Heating can account for more than 40% of your total energy use. Depending on which system you use, controlling your heating can save 5 to 15% of fuel consumption. The key to this is:

  • using your heating system only when required
  • setting your heating system to the minimum acceptable temperature

Implementing this will help you save money and reduce your carbon emissions. It will also help improve comfort for your guests and staff members.

1. The right temperatures for saving money

A good starting point is to know the recommended temperatures for specific areas.

Heating costs rise by about 8% for every 1°C of overheating, so keep checking if temperatures are set at the right level or if you should lower them.

For accommodation providers specifically, we would recommend:

  • 21°C for lounges and bathrooms
  • 16°C to 18°C for corridors
  • 16°C for bedrooms (as most people prefer a cooler temperature to sleep)
  • 19°C to 21°C for bedrooms that double as a living space

2. Types of temperature controls on offer

To help you get started, we set out three kinds of temperature controls that you could use to regulate the temperature inside your building.

When using any of these thermostats, it's useful to keep in mind that turning a thermostat up to maximum won't heat a room faster. The temperature will always increase at the same rate.

In other words, you'll only waste energy and make any room too hot if you won't flip the thermostat back to the preferred temperature in time.

  • Thermostatic radiator valves

    A thermostatic radiator valve is a control valve with an air temperature sensor. It controls the heat output from a radiator by adjusting water flow to provide the correct level of localised heating.

    It is important to check settings regularly to maintain optimum comfort. You should mount a thermostatic radiator valve horizontally on a radiator. This way, they can measure and maintain the correct temperature.

  • Wall thermostats

    Wall or room thermostats control heating systems rather than individual radiators. When they reach the specified temperature the thermostat switches the boiler and / or pump off.

    The location of thermostats is important. You shouldn't place thermostats near draughts or heat sources such as:

    • sunlight
    • radiators
    • office equipment, such as computers

    These create a false local temperature and can result in the heating system over or underheating.

  • Time control

    Set correctly, time controls ensure that a heating system is only on when you need it. A programmable timer can help to automate your heating. A typical time setting for a bed and breakfast would be:

    • on 7.30am and off 10.30am
    • on 5pm and off 10pm

    Regularly review the settings on your timers they're optimised for seasonal changes.

    Timers with a half hour, one hour or two hour boost function can increase efficiency when fitted to an element that heats up, such as electric towel rails.

    Poorly maintained controls gradually deteriorate. This affects comfort and energy efficiency levels. Many systems function inefficiently because someone made a quick adjustment and forgot to set it back again.

3. Further advice on heating and cooling

Related links