Energy Saving Tips for Charities

Heating Electricity & Lighting


Temperature Settings
The CIBSE recommended guidelines for office desk-based staff is 19C for heating in winter, and 25C for air-conditioning in summer.

The recommended temperature for living rooms for elderly or non-ambient clients is 21C. For healthy and ambient people it is 19C.

This is a crucial issue as every degree above 19C in winter uses up to 10% extra energy costs and 10% on your climate crisis gas emissions from your heating.

Purchase a simple digital thermometer to ensure heating does not go above 19C.

The recommended temperature for hot-water is 60C. Do not go above this. It has to be heated to this temperature to ensure the avoidance of legionella.

Heating Times
It is important that any charity premises are heated only during hours occupied; heating unoccupied rooms is a very common cause of energy wastage.

Ideally if the building is reasonably insulated and draught-proofed, the heating should only have to come on between half to an hour before staff arrival time, though it will require a bit extra on a Monday morning, if the building has been unoccupied over the weekend.

Similarly it should be possible to turn it off at least an hour to two hours before closing. In addition there may be potential for turning it off during the middle of the day.

You will need to experiment with these timings and with how long a break you can take in the middle of the day, as they depend on the thermal performance of your premises.

Double-check that the timer is set to ensure that the building is not heated over the weekend, if unoccupied. This is frequently the case with many charities. We have found many with the system on 24/7!

Other Heating Tips
1. If you have cavity walls and loft spaces, ensure that they have been insulated. This is one of the most cost-effective actions you can take.
(Up to 50% of heat can be last through walls and up to 25% through the loft if not insulated.) Such insulation can pay back within 2-3 years and is one of the most cost effective actions you can take.

2. Ensure wherever practical that radiators are kept free of furniture or other goods.

3. Ensure that your radiators have working TRV valves.

4. Ensure that all basic draught proofing of windows and doors is in place.

5. Place insulation reflectors behind all radiators on outside walls and all heating pipes and joints (especially in the boiler room) are insulated.


1. PCs and laptops have a range of power-consumption settings. Ensure staff are trained to use these to minimise power consumption or alternatively get the staff member responsible for IT to set them to the most energy efficient mode. Should be set to this as standard when initially supplied.

2. When replacing PCs, consider replacing them with laptops. In addition to the almost 2/3s saving in running costs, they also use a fraction of the energy used by PCs when in standby and so also reduce heat-gain in summer in the office.

3. Buy at least A++ rated white goods such as fridges when replacing them.

4. Ensure all photocopiers; printers etc are turned off at night and at weekends.

5. Microsoft offers a Free Cloud system for charities. This could enable the charities to get rid of all of the servers in the communications room and can reduce electricity consumption for server functions by up to 90%.

6. Ensure any electrical immersion heaters or hot-drinks machines have properly set timers installed.


1. Ensure all old-fashioned in-efficient fluorescent lighting tubes are replaced in future with latest T5 or LED technology, which uses about 30% less energy. This is crucial as office lighting can represent up to 50% of total office building electricity bills.

Old fashioned tube fittings can now have adapters installed to fit the smaller new tube sizes, so removing the expense of replacing the fittings to fit the new efficient but smaller tubes.


2. Replace any remaining inefficient tungsten bulbs with energy saving bulbs or LEDs.

3. Install movement/timer/light sensors in relevant areas where lighting is often left on but is usually unoccupied e.g. bathrooms, storerooms, staircases.

4. Reduce need for any overhead lamps during daylight hours by using task/desk lamps. Desk lamps with GU 10 fittings can now be found that use from 2 to 6 watt LEDs and provide excellent task lighting.

5. Do not install halogen spot-lamps as they are the most inefficient and therefore most expensive to run form of lighting. Replace existing halogen lamps with LED alternatives when they blow. A 50 watt halogen lamp will cost £16 a year during office hours, whilst a 5 watt LED desk-lamp will cost only £1.60.

6. Ensure adequate switching is installed, so that unnecessary lights can be turned off.