Responsible Executive: Associate Vice President of University Facilities, Infrastructure and Operations
Responsible Unit: University Facilities, Infrastructure and Operations
Effective: July 2019
Last Revised: July 2019

1. Rule Statement

1.1  The efficient consumption of energy at university facilities will result in lower maintenance, reduced carbon emissions, and lower energy costs.  Additionally, published standards serve as the benchmark for the establishment of accepted thermal conditions for human occupancy.  University Facilities, Infrastructure and Operations (UFIO) is responsible for implementing this rule, and has created it based on applicable building codes, and review of best practices by benchmarking with peer institutions.

2. Reason for Rule

2.1  The university has made a commitment to increase energy efficiency, control energy expenditures and reduce carbon emissions while striving to provide a consistent, suitable environment for OSU students, faculty and staff to learn and work. This rule outlines expectations for acceptable and expected building operating temperatures and other factors that influence energy consumption and carbon emissions.  It is part of a larger energy management strategy that also includes capital improvements and renewable energy, and is used in evaluating and prioritizing capital improvements.

3. Scope & Audience

3.1 This rule governs the intent and expectations for energy consumption at university facilities supported by UFIO. Although it may be applied at any building, deviations in Special Use Facilities (locker rooms, greenhouses, animal rooms, etc.), Support Facilities (vehicle storage, server rooms, shop space) and Mechanical Areas are expected. 

3.2 The intended audiences for this rule are building occupants, building managers, building operators and administrative leadership. 

4. Definitions

4.1 ASHRAE:  American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers

4.2 Building managers: Building Managers are operational contacts within each building who help monitor building conditions and maintenance issues. For a list of duties and responsibilities, contact the Facilities Services Work Coordination Center (WCC).

4.3 Occupied space/occupied hours: Occupied hours at OSU facilities vary widely, reflecting the broad array of activities on campus.  Occupied hours do not necessarily correlate with times the building is unlocked and locked.  A small number of occupants within a building does not necessarily constitute an occupied state.  Occupants present outside of typical work hours should expect to dress for comfort within unoccupied set point ranges of 55°F to 85°F.

4.4 UL approved: Products that are UL-approved carry the "UL Listed" mark and have passed government-regulated safety tests performed by Underwriters Laboratories.

4.5 Work Coordination Center: The Work Coordination Center (WCC) is a Facilities Services administrative unit that receives requests from customers, initiates the work request and monitors work flow.

5. Procedures

5.1.1 Heating and cooling standards for non-laboratory space.  Standards outlined in this section are targets.  Actual achievable temperatures vary due to building heating and cooling equipment capability, and targets may not be achievable in certain weather conditions.  These standards are based on American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 55 "Thermal Conditions for Human Occupancy".  For laboratory space, see section 5.1.8. 

5.1.1.1 Where cooling is available, cooling season (summer) occupied target set points: 74°F - 80°F.  Where cooling is not available, no set point can be specified.

5.1.1.2 After hours/unoccupied cooling target set point: 85°F

5.1.1.3 Heating season (winter) occupied target set points: 66°F - 70°F

5.1.1.4 After hours target set point: 55°F

5.1.1.5 During extreme weather conditions (extreme high or low outside temperatures), set points may not be achievable. 

5.1.1.6 Because temperatures are sampled at the temperature sensor and/or thermostat only and not where occupants sit, variation within a room may be significant. 

5.1.1.7 Shelving, furniture, equipment and other obstructions must not impede or deflect supply or return air vents and diffusers.  Please see this photo for an example of a partially obstructed diffuser. Supply diffuser airflow may be adjusted by Facilities Services on specific request.  Note that for return diffusers it is difficult to sense air flow.  They flow air out of, not in to the space and sometimes appear to be inactive, unused, or disconnected from the system, but they are an integral component to the correct tempering of the space.  

5.1.1.8 Heat generating equipment such as space heaters, computers, monitors, microwaves, copiers, refrigerators and coffee makers must not be located beneath - and must be kept at arm’s length away from - thermostats and other sensors.  See a photo example of a copier too close to a thermostat.

5.1.1.9 Occasional and irregular heating and cooling deviations for special events, projects or conferences will be provided on weekends and off hours and should be scheduled through the Work Coordination Center at least seven days in advance.

5.1.1.10 Requests for recurring or regular alternative heating/cooling limits and schedules will be processed through the Work Coordination Center and approved, modified or denied by the Facilities Services Director, in consultation with the Sustainability Office. Not all requests will be granted.

5.1.2 Lighting: Lighting levels recommended by the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) Lighting Handbook will be used as a guideline for appropriate and efficient lighting levels.  In many cases, IES levels will be target maximum illumination levels.

5.1.2.1 Automated lighting controls should be included in all new and retrofit construction projects.  Standalone occupancy sensors will be installed where they will provide reasonable savings.  Sensors may be installed retroactively by request to Facilities Services. 

5.1.2.2 Occupants should contact Facilities Services for special lighting assessment needs.

5.1.2.3 Incandescent, halogen and similar low efficiency lamps are allowed only in special applications.  Contact the Sustainability Office for more information.

5.1.2.4 Space-specific lighting levels:

  • Classrooms - 40-foot-candles (fc)
  • Offices & conference rooms - 30 fc
  • Reception areas & lounges - 20 fc
  • Corridors - 10 fc
  • Kitchens - 50 fc
  • Cafeterias - 20 fc
  • General and other areas - 20 fc

5.1.3 Building Resource Management: every member of the university community shares responsibility for implementing this rule and contributing to responsible resource management.  This section includes actions for building occupants and others.

5.1.3.1 Windows and exterior doors shall be kept closed during both heating and cooling seasons in spaces that have mechanical heating and cooling.  During fall and spring, open windows for ventilation only when outside temperatures support reaching indoor occupied temperature set points outlined in section 5.1.1. Be aware of security risks when opening windows that may be accessible from the building exterior.  Please inquire with Facilities Services or the Sustainability Office if unsure of mechanical heating and cooling functions and features. 

5.1.3.2 Schedulers of classes, meetings, and other campus activities should endeavor to minimize energy use through scheduling. Evening and summer classes should be concentrated in the fewest buildings possible.

5.1.3.3 Building occupants should close windows, turn off computers and other office equipment when not in use, and turn off lights when leaving a room.

5.1.3.4 Use of stairs rather than elevators is also encouraged, except for those with mobility limitations and persons transporting heavy equipment or materials.

5.1.4 Space heaters: the use of space heaters is generally prohibited.  However, in some cases, they may be necessary for temporary comfort until centralized heating systems can be repaired or adjusted.  In many cases, manipulating space temperatures with portable heaters can activate additional cooling from automated building systems, thereby defeating the intent of the occupant and dramatically increasing energy use.  Space heaters can also quickly overwhelm the electrical capacity of the local circuit or building.  Before purchasing or deploying a space, heater, contact the Work Coordination Center to address heating needs.  

5.1.4.1 Space heaters used on campus must be approved for fire safety, as classified by the National Fire Protection Association.

5.1.4.2 No liquid fueled space heaters (e.g., kerosene heaters) shall be used in any residential, office, classroom or laboratory buildings.

5.1.4.3 Space heaters must meet the following four specifications:

5.1.4.3.1 Be UL approved

5.1.4.3.2 Have elements that are protected from contact

5.1.4.3.3 Be tilt-proof (when tipped over, heater goes off)

5.1.4.3.4 Be thermostat-controlled.

5.1.4.4 Heating and cooling are not allowed simultaneously in the same space for the sole purpose of achieving comfort.

5.1.4.5 Excessive heating or cooling of a space outside the temperature set points in sections 5.1.1. and 5.1.8. should be reported to the Work Coordination Center.

5.1.5 Seasonal transition between heating and cooling: some less automated buildings must transition heating and cooling manually, as the seasons change

5.1.5.1 Facilities Services performs the transition between heating and cooling season on the basis of priorities established to:

5.1.5.1.1 Provide comfort and care for University controlled animals.

5.1.5.1.2 Maintain required temperatures to protect equipment and research in progress.

5.1.5.1.3 Conserve energy.

5.1.5.2 Air conditioning may not begin until outside temperature exceeds 78°F for three consecutive days.

5.1.5.3 Heating may not begin until the high outside air temperature has dropped below at least 55°F for three consecutive days.

5.1.5.4 The request to switch a building must be submitted by the Building Manager to the Work Coordination Center and once the switchover happens the building will not be switched back until the next seasonal change.

5.1.5.5 Special issues caused by seasonal switch should be addressed to the Work Coordination Center through the Building Manager. Where applicable, the temperatures specified in the building’s design criteria will be used. 

5.1.6 Holiday periods

5.1.6.1 Buildings will be only minimally heated/cooled during holiday and break periods, with the exception of buildings that contain special collections, animals, research or sensitive equipment, or buildings that are officially open during the holidays.

5.1.6.2 Requests for exceptions to this rule with justification should be sent to the Work Coordination Center via the Building Manager.

5.1.7 New construction

5.1.7.1 Current standards outlined in ASHRAE Standard No. 90.1 “Energy Efficient Design of New Buildings except Low Rise Residential Buildings” will be followed as closely as possible.

5.1.7.2 All planning for major construction and equipment purchase and installation must include life cycle cost analysis (LCCA), with an emphasis on energy and carbon reduction. For more information on LCCA, please contact the Sustainability Office. 

5.1.7.3 Construction standards for new construction specify energy efficiency and renewable energy requirements, and support OSU’s Requirements for Sustainable Development. 

5.1.8 Heating and cooling standards for laboratory space.   Laboratories refer to spaces that require special purpose equipment or a specific room configuration for student participation, experimentation, animal care, observation, practice in academic disciplines, etc.  Standards outlined in this section are targets.  Actual achievable temperatures vary due to building heating and cooling equipment capability, and targets may not be achievable in certain weather conditions.  These standards are based on American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 55 "Thermal Conditions for Human Occupancy".  The following standards will be implemented and managed by Facilities Services for laboratory space.  For non-laboratory space, see section 5.1.1.

5.1.8.1 Where cooling is available, cooling season (summer) occupied target set points: 74°F - 78°F.  Where cooling is not available, no set point can be specified.

5.1.8.2 For laboratories without constant temperature needs, after hours/unoccupied cooling target set point: 85°F

5.1.8.3 Heating season (winter) occupied set points:  66°F - 70°F

5.1.8.4 For laboratories without constant temperature needs, after hours target set point: 55°F

5.1.8.5 During extreme weather conditions (extreme high or low outside temperatures), set points may not be achievable.

5.1.8.6 Because temperatures are sampled at the temperature sensor and/or thermostat only and not where occupants sit, variation within a room may be significant.

5.1.8.7 Shelving, furniture, equipment, lab supplies and other obstructions must not impede or deflect supply or return air vents and diffusers.  Supply diffuser airflow may be adjusted by Facilities Services on specific request.  Note that for return diffusers it is difficult to sense air flow.  They flow air out of, not in to the space and sometimes appear to be inactive, unused, or disconnected from the system, but they are an integral component to the correct tempering of the space.

5.1.8.8 Heat generating equipment such as space heaters, computers, monitors, microwaves, copiers, refrigerators and coffee makers must not be located beneath - and must be kept at arm’s length away from - thermostats and other sensors.

5.1.8.9 In summer, defer autoclave cycles and dishwasher runs, if possible, until the end of the day so that they run overnight after the peak air conditioning load has passed.

5.1.8.10 Fume hoods should be operated in a manner that reduces energy consumption while following all safety guidelines. Sashes must be closed to the lowest safe level when fume hoods are in use and closed completely whenever workstations are unoccupied.  Because of their extreme impact on energy use and carbon emissions, adding new fume hoods will be evaluated using a collaborative process between UFIO and unit executive leadership.  Not all requests for adding fume hoods will be granted.

5.1.8.11 Ovens are not to be located in close proximity to any temperature sensing or control devices, like thermostats. 

5.1.8.12 Freezers must be defrosted at least once per year, or when ice buildup reaches more than 2 cm in thickness.

5.1.8.13 Freezer and refrigerator door seals must be checked on a regular basis to ensure they shut properly.

5.1.8.14 Opening freezers frequently or for prolonged periods of time should be avoided.

5.1.8.15 Timers should be used on equipment that does not need to be left on overnight, or during specific periods of time during the day.

5.1.8.16 All electronic equipment that feature an energy saving mode must have it enabled.

5.1.8.17 Requests for recurring or regular alternative heating/cooling limits and schedules will be processed through the Work Coordination Center and approved, modified or denied by the Facilities Services Director, in consultation with the Sustainability Office. Not all requests will be granted.

6. Frequently Asked Questions

6.1 To be developed.

7. Related Information

7.1 American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 55 "Thermal Conditions for Human Occupancy"

7.2 ASHRAE Standard No. 90.1 Energy Efficient Design of New Buildings except Low Rise Residential Buildings

7.3 OSU Construction Standards (http://fa.oregonstate.edu/cpd-standards)

8. History

8.1 Original issue date (for existing rule/policy):  06/10/2019.

8.2 Next scheduled review date:  05/01/2022. 

9. Website

9.1 http://fa.oregonstate.edu/fac-manual/007-campus-facilities-and-grounds-policies-and-procedures/007-09-heating-and-cooling 

10. Contacts

Facilities Services 541-737-2969
Sustainability Office 541-737-3307