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Maximum temperatures

Here’s an interesting fact – between 1980 and 2013, it was illegal in the UK to heat public spaces to above 19C unless there was a specific reason. We’re currently looking at why one of our monitors often sees 30C.

Here’s an interesting fact – between 1980 and 2013, it was illegal in the UK to heat spaces to above 19C unless there was a specific reason. That’s something we never knew before! Residences were exempt, and typical reasons given that would justify more heating were that the space served people who were ill, under five, or over 60. The use of 60 as a cut-off is in itself interesting.

A maximum temperature was set at 20 C via the Fuel and Electricity (Heating) (Control) Order 1974, and it was revised downward to 19C by the Fuel and Electricity (Heating) (Control) (Amendment) Order 1980. The limits are, of course, in response to disruption in the UK’s energy supply. In 2013, the government ran a consultation as part of their “Red Tape Challenge” and found out that very few people were aware of the limit so they abolished it, noting that they had other energy policy levers available. They did remark that the one use anyone made of it was to quote to workers asking their employers to turn the heating up.

Perhaps like trousers with flares, this one will come around again. At the moment, there’s no legal maximum, but the Health and Safety Executive recommends a limit of 24C. Any higher is dangerous for people with heart conditions.

The highest temperature recorded by one of our monitors in a venue so far is 32C. It’s obvious that it’s an external heating source. When the temperature spikes, the heating curve looks different from at other times because it rises faster than usual for a room with radiators. Our guess was sun because it correlates with the local weather record. However, the engineer with boots on the ground tells us that there is a thermostat in the room that users can fiddle with, and he has found it set to 30C and absolutely roasting. That means there might be two things to fix there. They’ll definitely want to think about how to limit the thermostat setting without alienating the users so much they bring in space heaters, but they might also find solar gain affects the room so badly they need some way to block the sun.

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