Donnachadh McCarthy on ‘temperature, occupation and timing’

News Desk (19 January, 2017)

It is the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Greening the Third Sector project

14507Environmental columnist Donnachadh McCarthy (Elizabeth Mischler)

TOT!  It is the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Greening the Third Sector project, which I helped design ten years ago, for the City Bridge Trust. 

Since then, over 100 charities in Southwark and across London have received free eco-audits. It has saved £ millions from the running costs of these charities, cut hundreds of thousands of tonnes of CO2 and saved hundreds of thousands of trees.

The eco-audits provide a free consultant, who assesses what good environmental practices are already in place at the charity and draws up a detailed plan and advice on how to improve the charity’s environmental performance even more.  Full info at

As one of the eco-consultants delivering the programme, it never ceases to amaze me how much energy is being wasted in organisations, who have not been eco-audited. I invented the acronym TOT, which summarises the three ways that organisations often waste the most heat.

The first T stands for Temperature. The recommended temperature for offices is 19C. I frequently find premises with heating from 23C to a truly sweltering 30C! This is hugely wasteful as every one degree above 19C, equates to 10% on the heating bill and 10% more carbon emissions. Thus, the charity that I visited in December who were at 30C, were wasting 110% more money on heating their premises.

The O stands for Occupation. Many organisations waste money by heating unoccupied sections of a building to the same temperature as occupied sections.  These include bathrooms, stairwells, corridors and store-rooms.  These can add up to a third of the entire space being heated. Turn the radiators in such areas down to frost-protection.

The final T stands for Timing. You would not believe the number of organisations that I visit who have their heating on 24/7, because nobody has checked the timer or knows how to use it.  For a Monday to Friday 9 to 5 office, this means heating is on pointlessly for 168 hours, instead of 40 hours. Heating should come on 30 minutes before occupation and go off an hour or two before closing.

So why not ask at your workplace if it complies with Donnachadh’s TOT advice?


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Southwark NewsComment