Energy saving in the public sector

Energy saving tips for hospitals, schools, colleges, universities, local councils and government

Save precious resources for where they’re needed

Recommended temperatures for public sector buildings

  • Offices 19–21°C
  • Classrooms 18°C
  • Sports hall and corridors 15°C
  • Areas for very young children 21°C

Check your thermostats and controls regularly – every 1°C of overheating increases fuel consumption by 8–10%

Public sector heating systems

  • Switch off heating for the last hour of the day – the building should retain its heat for that time
  • Use time switches so heating is only on when the building’s in use
  • Encourage staff to use window blinds to retain heat in winter and keep it down in summer
  • Regularly service boilers to retain efficiency and consider replacing units over 15 years old

Properly insulate your roof – a building loses 22% of its heat through its roof


  • Opening window blinds to utilise daylight could reduce lighting bills by 19%
  • Use movement detectors, time switches and daylight sensors
  • Encourage staff to switch lights off when they’re not needed
  • Install energy-efficient lights – LED lights and compact fluorescent products use 80% less electricity than conventional light bulbs

If windows, skylights and light fittings are not kept clean, light levels can fall by up to 30% in three years


  • Hot water should be stored at temperatures above 60°C to avoid bugs like legionella
  • Cold water should be kept at a maximum 20°C
  • Ensure pipework is well insulated to prevent heat loss

Fitting taps that turn off automatically (percussion taps) can lead to major energy savings

Air conditioning

  • Don’t waste energy by heating and cooling areas at the same time
  • Switch off heating in office areas when it reaches 20°C
  • Only turn on air conditioning when the temperature is over 24°C

Regular air-conditioning services help keep your system running efficiently


  • Install variable-speed drives in your fans
  • Ensure air recycling is optimised, particularly when there aren’t many people around
  • Consider investing in high efficiency equipment for your heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems

Variable-speed drives can reduce the running costs of fans and pumps by up to 30%

Electrical equipment

  • IT equipment burns energy, even in standby mode
  • Encourage staff to switch equipment off when not in use
  • Use the energy-saving features on things like monitors and printers

Turning off vending machines at night and weekends reduces their energy costs by 70%