Heating and cooling is an important component of productive learning and working spaces. Within Facilities Management, we do our best to provide comfort to everyone. The reality is, some people will feel warm while others are feeling cool. We are constantly looking for ways to improve deficiencies, and optimize the heating, cooling and ventilation (HVAC) system, and support UFV’s vision and values regarding sustainable operations.
The HVAC system relies heavily on sensors to tell our direct digital control (DDC) and our mechanical maintenance staff how to send temperate and fresh air to all the spaces within the university. Desired indoor air temperatures are called “setpoints”, and programmed within the DDC. Hidden within the walls and ceilings are complex systems of vents, pipes, valves, and actuators that work together to provide pleasant air flow and temperatures that match the programmed setpoint. Factors that can adversely impact this complicated system:
- Open windows and doors – Outdoor air coming into an office, or classroom will either warm or cool a space beyond the setpoint. This will force the HVAC system into overdrive to correct the temperatures experienced in that space registered by the thermostat. In most areas, one thermostat will control a large area – your colleagues or classmates will likely be over heated, or chilled by your open window.
- Space heaters – If you are feeling cool, space heaters are not the answer. In fact, space heaters (similar to windows and doors, above) will also cause the thermostat to register temperatures that are above the setpoint, forcing the HVAC into cooling mode, giving you a chilly draft, and everyone else in your area too. If you constantly feel cool, send in a work request to have a specialist assess your area. Following that, request a fleece blanket from the Energy Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Old renovations – UFV has grown, shifted, developed, and sometimes even changed shape. Unfortunately sometimes those renovations in the past didn’t consider the HVAC system and how it is to function in its new iteration. Old classrooms have been turned into offices, and vice versa, and in some cases the HVAC remains to service those functions, causing some warm, or cool spots throughout the university. Contact Facilities Management for solutions.
- New construction – Technology moves quickly, and with the complex systems behind the scenes, sometimes it takes a couple of seasons to fully balance new buildings and work out the wrinkles. Communication is important! If you are fortunate enough to be working or studying in a state-of-the-art new building, but find yourself a bit warm, or cool, submit a work request and we’ll have a technician work towards a solution for you.