With the winter solstice quickly approaching, temperatures are beginning to drop and brisk air is back in the Midwest. Schools have already flipped the switch from air conditioning to heating. Is your facility ready to turn on the heat? Furthermore, is your facility ready to manage that heat? Warming classrooms is a large expense for schools to face. To help navigate you through these winter months, we’ve compiled a few of the most important tips to maintain an efficient operation.

How’s the Temperature?

The optimal thermostat set point for the winter months is 68º Fahrenheit. Certain facilities may be able to lower this temperate by a few degrees when your facilities are occupied by students and faculty. In large groups, collective body heat will help keep the space at a comfortable level.

Did you know that the optimal #thermostat set point for the winter months is 68º Fahrenheit? Find out more ways to operate efficiently this winter in @RasMech’s latest blog: Click To Tweet

Be sure to install tamper-proof thermostats to prevent staff and students from adjusting temperatures. Without these, the utility costs will rise as people manually raise and lower temperatures throughout the day.

Furthermore, if a classroom is sitting unoccupied for a number of hours or days, such as open blocks, nights, weekends or holidays, do not turn off your heat completely. When warm air flow is stopped completely, the temperature in large buildings will decline to an uncomfortable level. When occupants arrive in the facility for the next class throughout the day or term and the heat is needed at a tolerable level, the utility bill will see a spike in cost. To prevent this, lower that space’s temperature instead of turning it off completely. For intermediate times that range from an hour to a few days, temperatures between 62-66° Fahrenheit are suitable. When buildings lack occupants for a few weeks to a month, such as a winter break, temperatures as low as 58° Fahrenheit are suitable.

Optimal Heating Times

As mentioned in the recommended temperature section of this blog, there are optimal times to heat your building. The most important time, of course, is when staff, teachers, students, etc. are occupying your space. Set your building controls, smart thermostat or manually raise the classroom temperatures back to the determined baseline 15 minutes before occupancy to allow the room to come to a comfortable temperature. The thermostat can adjust back down to the determined resting temperature roughly 15 minutes before students and staff leave the building.

Spaces that aren’t occupied often don’t need to be heated to typical standards. Evaluate your building to see where occupancy will be low in the winter months. Are there classrooms that aren’t being used in your middle school this year, or an auditorium that’s only used twice per semester at your college? Reduce these specific area temperatures for the term. If there are class changes during these colder months, be sure to reevaluate which times each room will need to be heated.

Optimize Outside Airflow

Most buildings bring in more cold air than normal, costing valuable energy to heat up the outside air in the winter. Reduce outside airflow rates to the minimum allowed by ASHRAE for each space. Reducing this airflow will yield significant savings!  Does your HVAC system use the same amount of outside air during occupied and unoccupied times? Consider the amount of frigid outdoor air that is being brought into the building and heated all night while no one is in the building! Installing CO2 sensors in return air ductwork and maintaining interior CO2 levels will yield serious savings and comfort.  Talk to a Temperature Controls specialist today to see if your building is running at efficient outside air temperature.

Perform Seasonal Tasks

Complete each task under the “Winter” header on our do-it-yourself seasonal tasks to ensure that your facility as a whole is operating as efficiently as possible during this chilly season. This list includes simple (but often forgotten) tasks such as replacing air filters and cleaning supply and return registers. By checkings these mundane items off of the checklist, you will prevent potential build up blockages and improve air quality, air flow, and unit efficiency.

With the winter solstice quickly approaching, temperatures are beginning to drop and brisk air is making its way back into the Midwest. Let the experts at @rasmech direct you towards #heating winter efficiencies this chilly season. Click To Tweet

Be sure to address operational temperatures and times and check off each listed winter item from our seasonal tasks checklist. With these winter heating tips in your back pocket, your facility is sure to operate at an efficient level. Looking for help as the air begins to turn cold? Reach out to your single-source provider for more winter do’s and don’ts.

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