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Inside Iowa State
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October 12, 2001

Energy conservation plan strides into winter phase

by Debra Gibson
Unpack the cardigans the thermostats are headed south for the winter.

In an effort to maintain the university's commitment to energy conservation and to achieve the projected $1.5 million savings (of which $400,000 already has been saved), ISU officials have begun implementing the "winter plan" for campus buildings. According to David Miller, director of utilities, the plans for the first wave of buildings (those whose names begin with letters A-C) were activated this week. All buildings will be expected to implement their plans no later than Friday, Nov. 2.

The plans call for thermostats to be set no higher than 68 degrees. To further save energy, Miller said, most air handlers (units that blow air around buildings) will be shut off after 6 p.m. and on weekends in buildings without routine after-hours occupancy.

"We'll let the buildings' temperatures drift until they reach 60 degrees," Miller said, "but not any lower. At that point, the heating systems will kick in and bring those nighttime temperatures back up to 65 degrees."

Exemption guidelines
Exemptions will be made, Miller said, for those buildings containing special collections, plants, animals or other sensitive equipment. Waivers granted for the summer months have expired; those wishing to apply for new exemptions must gain approval from their respective deans' or directors' offices. Previously, such exceptions were approved by department heads.

"If employees have health reasons for requesting an exemption, we will make every effort to accommodate their needs," Miller said. "However, documentation must be provided, and ultimately, this is an issue between employees and their supervisors."

Space heaters are not an option for individuals, Miller said, due to a long-standing restriction in the university's Operating Procedures Guide (OPG).

"We're attempting to reach a temperature that is reasonable for everyone," Miller said. "We're not asking people to work or study under extreme conditions."

According to Miller, the 68-degree temperature is the standard for occupied buildings established by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. Miller said other Midwestern universities are applying these guidelines to their campus buildings, including the University of Wisconsin and the University of Indiana.

Read up on your building
To review the winter utilities plan for your building, follow these steps: If you have trouble opening this document (and some Macintosh users on campus are), you can request a copy of your building plan via e-mail:

"A lot of people on this campus are interested in doing what they can to help out," Miller said. "Our primary goal is to have this plan work for as many people as possible. We're not trying to put anyone out of business."

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