Heating, Lighting, Ventilation & Shade


The building is predominantly cooled via natural ventilation which enables it to meet stringent sustainability targets. Heating is provided via radiators and trench heating (underfloor heat pipes below floor grills). The majority of the building does not utilise air conditioning systems (as they are extremely energy intensive), therefore there are no cooling controls or ceiling vents in standard offices. Above ground, the combination of exposed thermal mass, shading via blinds and Brise Soleil and opening windows will moderate the temperature accordingly.

With Natural Ventilation, it is useful to take time to think about environmental conditions. For example, in certain conditions of hot weather, the building’s thermal mass may result in cooler temperatures indoors than it is outside. In this scenario manually opening the windows may increase the temperature of the room. Conversely during the same hot weather, opening windows to ‘purge’ heat from a room over night will ensure a lower temperature the next morning (in which case it may be prudent to have the blind closed overnight to minimise the risk of any bird accidentally getting in).

Thermostatic Radiator ValveHeating to the offices is provided via radiators, control of the heat is via Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRV’s). To set the level of heat output adjust the valve setting (typical this should be set at about 3.5 for an office temperature of about 21C) . Please do not set the value to maximum/5 as that means the heating will not cut out and the room temperature can rise to 28C and waste a lot of heat and money.

Some rooms (i.e. meeting rooms) have trench heating, control of the heat output is also via TRV’s, which are located on the adjacent wall.

Please note that the heat control is not instantaneous and takes approximately 30 minutes to react to any adjustments made. Furthermore the radiator system is a medium temperature system rather than a high temperature one as typically found in homes, so the radiators will be warm rather than hot to the touch.

If your room is too hot/cold please report the issue to @email who will investigate the heating or cooling system operation as all rooms should be able to maintain a suitable temperature without supplementary heaters. Where there is a heating failure that cannot be quickly rectified a supplementary electric heater may be provided. In such cases the issue of the heater will be logged and the heater retrieved when the underlying fault is resolved.

There is further information about work place temperature guidelines under health & safety.


A retractive (sprung) light switch has been installed in each office. To turn the lights on, depress the switch once and release (repeat to turn the lights off).

To dim the lights up or down, hold the retractive switch until the required light level is achieved and release.

The lights will monitor room occupancy – if no occupancy has been detected for 1 hour, the lights will switch off automatically.

The lights also monitor daylight levels and will adjust the light output automatically where you have not selected a specific level as outlined above.


Standard offices have full height openable windows with a double handle arrangement on the frame. To open the windows use two hands, open both handles together and push the window open horizontally away from the building. The parallel motion of the mechanism means that air is able to flow through the entire perimeter of each vent.

Windows should not be opened (or left open) during inclement weather such as rain and/or high winds.

Windows on the ground floor should be closed when the room is vacant and at the end of the working day to maintain a maximum level of security. Windows on the upper floor levels (not on the ground floor) may be left open through the night in warm weather conditions to provide a night time purge of the exposed slab; this will reduce the temperature in the offices during the day.


Brise Soleil controlBrise SoleilStandard offices are fitted with Brise soleil to enable additional shading from direct sunlight to the offices. The brise soleil louvre blades outside the windows can be moved left or right to provide shade to one of the windows or to position it behind the solid section for maximum natural light. Each Brise Soleil panel is controlled via a switch, the control switch is located next to the light switch and rotating to the left or right moves the external panel.

Some rooms have more than one set of louvre blades in which case there are multiple switches by the light switch. About 5 rooms have one dedicated brise soleil and one shared one. The shared brise soleil only has a single control which is located in one office so the neighbouring occupants should agree how it is typically positioned.

All office windows also have internal blinds (most roller but some venetian) which can be used as well or instead of the brise soleil for shading and/or privacy.

Several complete checks of the 350 or so brise soleil have been conducted over the first 5 years since the installation, and repairs funded. As of 2019 the university and department have reluctantly jointly concluded that the system is not sufficiently reliable and robust and the maintenance and repair costs are too great to keep it all in working order. As such further repairs of failed brise soleil will be noted but will not be expected to be fixed.

Should a brise soleil become stuck in an unwanted position you can still report this to FM and they can visit to manually make a one-off repositioning of that brise soleil to a more convenient location.

Please contact us with feedback and comments about this page. Last updated on 14 Jun 2023 13:18.