As the summer holidays wind down to their inevitable conclusion, with A Level results confirmed and university places accepted, the back to school season looms ever closer. Over the next few months, youngsters from all across the country will be leaving home for the first time to take up their place at university – packing up their possessions to set up home in an anonymous student building that they’ve probably never even seen before. If you work within university accommodation services you’ll no doubt have spent the summer working hard to maintain, repair and renovate your student residences, preparing to make the new intake of students as comfortable as possible in their strange new homes. The holiday season is anything but for accommodation maintenance teams, bringing with it a long list of practical tasks, some tricky decisions to make and fresh reminders of the challenges faced in student property management. Student accommodation heating is one of the greatest challenges faced by estate management teams. Accommodation managers must continually balance the heating needs of the buildings with university budget restrictions, energy policies and the complex timetable of holiday repairs and renovations when choosing, maintaining and replacing accommodation heating systems. We believe that new generation electric heating products offer an innovative solution to the classic problems associated with student residence heating. Check out our guide – and maybe by next summer you’ll have a heating renovation plan that’s economical, eco-friendly and easy to put into action.
Challenges of heating student residences
There are many factors which contribute to the difficulty of heating student residences. Tight university budgets and green targets set to all large organisations make heating economically and efficiently a top priority – but it can be difficult to do all this whilst satisfying the complex heating demands of university buildings. Luckily electric heating is uniquely suited to achieving this balance in the most economical way possible.
The modular nature of student residences can make heating control a difficult issue. A typical student accommodation block will be spread over multiple floors, with a handful of communal spaces and perhaps hundreds of individual student bedrooms. Each student will have different expectations and preferences for the heating levels in their bedrooms – with students from all over the country, and, indeed, all over the world, packed into one building. However, giving students total control over the heating in their rooms can be expensive. The cost of student accommodation is, as a rule, an all-inclusive package with no separate payment for energy bills, so there is no financial motivation for students to reduce their personal energy usage. Most student residences use a centrally controlled heating schedule which offers a certain level of heat to each room at certain times of the day and year: typically providing heat levels of 21˚C between 7am and 10am and 6pm and 11pm October to March. Students can then switch the radiators in their bedrooms on or off depending on their heating needs. This system works fairly well – but adapting it for use with electric radiators can make the heating far more efficient.
A gas central heating system in a student residence loses heat by pushing hot water around very large buildings – when not all radiators in the building will be activated. This is especially inefficient in the warmer months because many students who are perhaps more active or used to lower levels of heat may switch their radiators off for comfort. With an electric heating system, no heat is wasted through pipes – if a radiator is switched off it will definitely be saving energy.
A centrally controlled heating system also suffers from a single thermostat in a central location that will not provide an accurate temperature reading for all rooms in the buildings. The heating needs of individual rooms will fluctuate massively across buildings which often encompasses many different architectural styles as well as housing students with very different lifestyles and living expectations. Take, for instance, a traditional 60s style accommodation block which has been recently expanded with a modern extension. Suzy lives in a room in the modern section of the building: the room is south facing, Suzi regularly enjoys long, hot showers, uses personal electrical appliances such as hair straighteners and electric hair driers and often invites her friends round to socialise. David, meanwhile, lives in a room in the old section of the building – the room has a high-ceiling, single glazed north facing windows and David spends most of his time reading at his desk. Suzi’s room will be much warmer than David’s – but the central heating system will deliver equal amounts of heat to each room, potentially over-heating Suzy and keeping David chilly. Electric radiators get round this problem with an individual thermostat on every radiator. The radiators are centrally programmed to reach the same temperatures, but the thermostats will regulate the temperature of each individual radiator to ensure that temperatures are level throughout the building. In Suzy’s room the radiator will switch itself much more often than in David’s – ensuring both students are kept comfortable whilst a minimum of energy is used. Our electric radiators provide a much more accurate and efficient system than that provided by gas central heating.
For more details of how electric heating could improve the efficiency of your student accommodation heating system, and for details of our best products for the job, speak to our expert heating advisors today for more information and a free quote. Call us now on 0330 300 4444.
Eco Stores Direct are here to bring you the very latest energy news, views and opinions from across the UK. They are also suppliers of energy efficient electric heating solutions and are constantly assessing the market for the best products and the latest ground-breaking technology which they think will make a real difference to their customer's homes. Eco Stores Direct are devoted to helping you reduce your carbon footprint and bring down your energy bills and they work hard to raise awareness of energy efficient products that can make all the difference. If you're interested in outdoor patio heaters or slimline infrared panels, call Infrared Heaters Direct today on 0330 300 8383 for a free assessment.