Space Heater Defeaters 2024

space heater defeater banner

Do you –

  • Have cold hands (feet/back/shoulders…) but a warm heart?
  • Keep woolies in your desk drawer in case it gets too cold?
  • Feel like it’s warmer outside than in your office?

Are you—

  • Using a space heater?
  • Thinking of requesting one?

Do we have a program for you!

A limited number of seat warmers are available for employees to use instead of power-hungry space heaters. Imagine a cozy and sustainable work area!


  • Fill in a Space Heater Defeater request by January 26, 2024.
    Link not working? Fill in this request pdf and send it along to sustainability@viu.c
  • Responses will be reviewed and names will be randomly selected. If your name isn’t selected, we’ll put you on a waitlist for a seat warmer if/when more become available.
  • For those selected who do use a space heater, you will be asked to temporarily give up your space heater for a one-month trial period while you test out the seat warmer. Once you’re given a seat warmer, you can keep it while you work at VIU.
  • All recipients will be asked to fill out a usage survey by Friday, March 8, 2024


All employees are invited to sign up, but priority may be given to those who are currently using a space heater.

Curious about this initiative?

 Why a seat warmer instead of a space heater?

Space Heaters


Seat Warmers

  • ≈ 1200-1500 W of electricity


  • ≈ 75-145 W of electricity
  • ≈ 18¢ /hr to operate


  • ≈ 1-1.75¢ /hr to operate
  • Take time to warm space


  • Quick heating where you need it
  • Can overload circuits


  • Not likely to overload circuits
  • Can disrupt building heating/cooling (HVAC)


  • Don’t impact HVAC


Where did this idea come from?

SD 61 (Victoria) shared this idea with the Energy Wise Network – a group VIU is part of. A number of institutions have borrowed the idea with positive results.


Why are we doing it?

There are a number of reasons but the top 3 are:


Based on responses from VIU participants as well as from folks at other institutions including SD 61 (Victoria) and Thompson Rivers University who have done similar programs, seat warmers generally do a better job of keeping you warm because they warm you and not the space. 

Improved HVAC performance

Space heaters can interfere with heating systems. How? If a space heater is close to a thermostat the thermostat thinks the space is warm and shuts off heating. Other folks who share that space may not get the heating they need to be comfortable. HVAC balancing can be tricky !

Better energy use

Circuit overloads are avoided -- who wants to be the one who causes a colleague’s work to be lost because of power disruption? AND it’s a more efficient use of energy because less is used and it’s focused on the person who needs it rather than heating a big space. Energy efficiency is good for the environment and for the budget!


When will I get a seat warmer if I’m selected?

  • We’ll be choosing recipients from those that fill in a Space Heater Defeater request by January 26, 2024.
  • We will start to give seat warmers out the week of January 29, 2024.
  • You can keep the warmer for as long as you work at VIU.


Who can get a seat heater?

  • Employees of VIU can get one for use at VIU.

**Note that if you have a space heater you’re currently using, you will have to give it up for one month (until February 29, 2024). At the end of the month, if you prefer a space heater, let us know (sustainability@viu.ca ) and we’ll exchange the space heater for the seat warmer.


How do the seat warmers work?

They are extra-large heating pads that plug in and can be attached to your chair or draped over wherever you may especially be feeling the cold.

Although they can be plugged into a power bar, a wall plug in whenever possible is preferred.


Other questions? Email us at sustainability@viu.ca