Is your space too cool or too warm? Are wondering if your thermostat is functioning? We can help!
During curtailment, the system controls thermostats to operate at peak energy efficiency. This often means pre-cooling a space overnight or in the early morning hours. What is pre-cooling? Glad you asked! While the Med Center is a 24/7 operation, there is substantially less activity at night, resulting in less energy use, and while it may still be warm out, the lack of sun reduces the heat load and makes it easier on the system to keep spaces cool. If we make buildings cooler before the bulk of operations start in the morning, it’s easier for the system to keep up as the sun rises, heat increases, and heat-producing activity increases. As those changes take place, the system will automatically adjust the set point (temperature it wants the room to be) throughout the day to allow the system to be efficient while dealing with high outdoor temperatures.
So what does this mean for you? If we are in curtailment and you feel your space is abnormally cold or warm, check the temperature on your thermostat. Note: you are usually able to change the set point on your thermostat but during curtailment the system will ignore thermostat settings and run curtailment protocol. We recommend not making any changes, because when curtailment is disabled, your thermostat will then work to meet your new setpoint, which likely won’t be the temperature you actually want. Then go to medcenterenergy.com and look at the setpoint box on the top of the screen:
If the temperature in your room matches the temperature on the website, or is really close (don’t forget, thermostats are not instantly responsive and it takes a little time to change the temperature of your entire space) your thermostat is working and you do not need to call the help desk. If your thermostat shows that you are outside the acceptable range (66-75) you should call the helpdesk: 2-3347 (Nebraska Medicine) or 9-4050 (UNMC). The temperature on your thermostat will gradually rise throughout the day. Depending on the heat and humidity as well as campus energy use, this could result in a multi-degree swing.
If the temperature on the medcenterenergy.com website is higher than the temperature you see on your thermostat, the system will not warm your space to hit that setpoint. It is not energy efficient to produce heat when it is very hot and humid outside, hence the practice of energy curtailment.
One final energy saving note: we do all of this to save energy so it’s good for you to know that if you are adjusting a thermostat (at any time during the year) overshooting the temperature you want will not get you there faster. e.g. when it’s 70 on your stat and you want to be at 72, just set it to 72. It will achieve this temperature at the same rate as setting it to 74. However, if you set it to 74 the system will try to hit that mark, which uses extra energy and then you will have to adjust it back down, which uses even more energy. As noted on the energy curtailment page, you may be locked out of your thermostat during curtailment. However, you will still be able to push buttons–the system will pick the programming instead. This means if you turn the thermostat up to 76 you won’t get any warmer, but when curtailment is disabled, your thermostat will work to achieve that temp—a big waste of energy and it will make for an uncomfortable start to your day.
Questions? Email LiveGreen@unmc.edu