Most College rooms are on a central heating system, with heat supplied to radiators by gas boilers (although there are projects are underway to move to more sustainable heating options). Gas consumption for heating is the biggest component of the College’s readily-measured emissions (60% in 2022-23). Because gas consumption makes up such a significant proportion of the College’s carbon footprint, any action taken to reduce it is worthwhile.

The heating is operated on a schedule rather than 24/7 every day of the year (so if you think your heating is broken, please check it should be on first!). The introduction of a heating schedule in May 2014 lead to a measurable reduction in gas consumption – 6.9% over the course of the year when first introduced, and 40% in May and June 2014 compared with the same months in 2013. During 2016 and 2017, works to optimise the boilers in Memorial Court were carried out, and in winter 2021-22 further investigation was carried out into making more efficient use of the heating system.

Beyond the system-wide changes we are making, everyone can help the College achieve greater energy savings by:

  • Turning down the thermostat on your radiator when you’re not in the room
  • Wearing a jumper rather than turning up the thermostat (follow the sleeves rule – if your arms aren’t covered, you can’t say you’re cold!)
  • Not leaving windows open when the heating is on unless you need to for ventilation
  • Closing your curtains in the evening – you might be surprised how much heat that saves

Some buildings have smart thermostats installed. It’s worth taking the time to programme these to your individual requirements. 

Heating Schedule

TRV (radiator valve)

Most TRVs (radiator valves) look like the one above - they're easy to turn up and down to get the right level of heat.


The College’s electricity is sourced from 100% renewable sources. The larger buildings (Old Court, Memorial Court, Lerner Court Clare St Regis, Clare Court Phase 2, St Andrews & St Giles, and Castle End) are supplied by Cambridgeshire solar farms, and the remainder from other renewable sources.

Although the College’s electricity is renewable, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to waste it. Think about:

  • Unplugging things like chargers and laptop leads when not in use (and when the battery is full) – good for energy consumption, good for battery life
  • Letting the Buildings team know if you spot a sensor operated light that’s on when it shouldn’t be, or if you think something else is running unnecessarily
  • Turning off the lights when you go out
  • Boiling only the water you need when you make a cup of tea or coffee
Solar Panels in Clare