Why is my space cold when it’s hot out?

Once again, the heat and humidity have come earlier than we would like, which means we are in energy curtailment.

Many have asked, “Why is my office so dang cold?  Aren’t we wasting energy by keeping spaces cold when it’s so hot?” That’s true of your home, where the system adds cool air and then turns off, waits for the temperature to rise, and then adds cooling again.

Patient care areas and research spaces require a constant rate of air flow.  In buildings with these activities we combine both heated and chilled air, regulating temperature the way we adjust the water in a shower – adding both hot and cold to create a comfortable temperature.  During curtailment, we produce less heated air because nature does that for us.  This means some spaces will feel cold.

We also save energy by “pre-cooling.”  Spaces are cooled just a little bit extra before it gets hot and the sun is beating down, which makes it easier for the system to keep up once the heat and humidity are in full force.

Buildings without research or patient care may feel warmer than usual, as less energy will be used to cool them.  Please call 9-4050 (UNMC) or 2-3347 (Nebraska Medicine) to report spaces colder than 66 degrees or warmer than 75 degrees.

Why put ourselves through this?  Lower energy use means better air quality, which means a healthier community, and better health is our mission.

Our utility rates are based on our peak use.  The maximum amount of energy we use at a given time determines the rate we pay for the entire next year.  We want to keep that peak as low as possible.

We need your help!  When the outside temperature becomes unbearable, we’ll ask you to turn lights off where ambient light is adequate, unplug electrical devices when not in use, and to close your window blinds to keep the sun out.  These easy steps combine to have a huge impact – during the hot days and in the year ahead.

So, counterintuitive as it seems, when the mercury climbs this summer, be prepared – dress in layers.  Stow a sweater, closed-toe shoes, and some socks in a desk drawer.  Help improve community health by keeping your lights off and your window blinds closed.

If improving health, reducing pollution, and saving money aren’t enough incentives, the TREAT PATROL will make the rounds, randomly showing up in spaces to reward people for these efforts:

To help ease the energy load:

  • close shades, blinds and curtains whenever possible to reduce solar heat gain;
  • lower lighting levels where possible, turn off lights in unoccupied areas and when leaving a room;
  • turn off and unplug all electrical equipment not in use (computers, coffee makers, printers, chargers, etc.), especially in offices;
  • shut fume hood sashes when not in use; and
  • open doors manually instead of using the ADA buttons.

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