University Energy Policy


This policy outlines temperature set points for HVAC systems on campus and provides energy conservation guidelines, protocols, and procedures for the university.

Responsible Office:  Facilities Management Services
Effective Date:  November 1, 2013

Policy Statement

In support of RIT’s commitment to achieving a more sustainable campus, FMS uses consistent temperature set points for HVAC systems in university spaces where centralized control and monitoring are feasible.  Temperature set points follow national standards for occupant comfort and, where feasible, are adjusted to maximize energy consumption when unoccupied.   In addition to centralized control of HVAC systems, achieving sustainability requires energy conservation efforts by all members of the RIT community.  Details on centralized controls and guidelines for individual energy conservation are provided as a part of this policy.


Terms not defined elsewhere in this policy include:

  1. Authorized Heating or Cooling Devices:  Those devices that are provided or previously accepted by the Director of FMS for use in campus buildings.
  2. Unauthorized Heating or Cooling Devices: Those devices that are not provided or previously accepted by the Director of FMS.

HVAC Systems

  1. Cooling- During the air-conditioning season, room temperatures will be maintained at 78+/-2F when the space is occupied and 85F during unoccupied periods. The air-conditioning system increases our electrical load, depending on the total consumption; “demand limiting” control may be introduced. Please reference the FAQ section for more detail.
  2. Heating- During the heating season room temperatures will be maintained at 68+/-2F when the space is occupied and 55F during unoccupied periods.
  3. Exceptions- Exceptions to this policy include special areas such as critical lab spaces or data centers that require a controlled environment with different temperature set points. Please reference a current building list in the FAQ section. For other exceptions, occupants must contact FMS and request a review of the space. The Director of FMS, Senior Sustainability Advisor to the President, and the college/division administrator responsible for the space will conduct the review and determine the outcome.
  4. Occupant Responsibilities- Occupants should not expect space temperatures to be adjusted unless they fall outside the established ranges in this policy. Occupants are expected to dress appropriately based on the established set points and weather forecast. If the space falls outside the established temperature ranges, occupants should report the problem to FMS.
  5. Portable Heating and Cooling Devices- Any unauthorized devices will be removed. If there are temperature problems due to an older building structure or problem systems, FMS will provide authorized devices (fan or heater). Please reference the FAQ section for more detail. Department heads and supervisors are expected to ensure unauthorized devices are not in use in their areas.

Lighting, Power, and Water Usage

  1. Switching- Lights should be turned off when the occupant leaves the space for more than 20 minutes. There are occupancy sensors in many offices and classrooms; however, occupants are responsible to ensure lighting is being used as needed.
  2. Light Fixtures and Lamps- The campus continues to replace lighting to higher efficiency fixtures (i.e. fluorescent or LED).  Incandescent lamps are prohibited and will be removed. Occupants should use natural light as much as possible.
  3. Power- Occupants should turn off all computers, printers, copiers and any appliances when not in use. FMS encourages using a power strip for all devices to be plugged into. The occupant can turn off the power strip at night, reducing any phantom power draw.
  4. Computer Power Management- Occupants should work with ITS on installing the power management settings ensuring the computer hibernates when not in use and is off during unoccupied times.
  5. Water Leaks or Continuous Flow- Occupants should contact FMS immediately if you observe any leaks or fixtures on continuously.


The Sustainability website offers detailed information about other sustainable programs on campus including details on how we are currently reducing energy and our carbon footprint.

Frequently Asked Questions

RIT spent over $10 million dollars last year on utilities (21% gas, 74% electricity, 5% water).

Implementing this NEW energy policy will save the campus between $400,000-$500,000 per year and reduce our carbon footprint by 2,088,000kg of CO2.

FMS continuously watches the total electric consumption on campus. On extremely hot days the electrical consumption on campus may reach a peak value which predicates a large monthly peak demand charge. The peak demand charge is significant to the amount RIT pays for electricity. If we can lower our peak use by introducing “demand limiting” control, this helps lower our monthly bill.

Explanation of Demand Charges

When demand limiting is active, the cooling temperature set points will be increased, reducing the air conditioning load on campus. It would be great if you could turn off all unnecessary power and lighting during this time.

The temperature set points we have established fall within the ranges provided in ASHRAE (American Society of Heating and Refrigeration Engineers) Standard 55-2004- Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy: Winter 69-78<30% RH, other wise 68-75F. Summer 76-82<30% RH, other wise 74-78F.

RIT is aware there are over 500 space heaters on campus. They use up to 1500 watts each. If one operates for 40 hours a week for 5 months (Nov-April) we expend 1,286 kWh or $128 per unit. On an annual basis, this costs $62,000 in total. We understand there are certain spaces on campus that cannot meet set point. In these areas, there are low wattage alternatives. FMS has found a heated floor mat that costs $8 to operate compared to $128, reducing the energy costs for the 500 units by $57,000 per year.

Energy star rated fan.

The main systems have an occupied and unoccupied mode. The schedules can be adjusted based on space use. The users must contact FMS and let us know.