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Download the PDF of the Temperature Policy Here

Tufts University Temperature Policy 2009


Tufts University is committed to environmental protection and sound fiscal management. Using energy responsibly by standardized temperature setpoints will reduce emissions and save money. The purpose of this policy is to clarify expectations about temperatures in Tufts’ spaces. Please assist the University in maintaining these setpoints.


OCCUPIED HOURS (space is being actively used)
In buildings with centrally controlled heat and air conditioning the following setpoints will be used:

  • During the hours of 8 am to 6 pm occupied offices:
    •  will be heated to a target temperature of 68°F during the winter;
    •  will be allowed to rise to 78°F in centrally air conditioned spaces during the summer; o temperatures may vary by up to 4°F.

Thermostats in individually controlled spaces should be set at 68°F during the winter and 78°F during the summer.

• Classrooms, libraries, athletics facilities, dining halls, and residence halls will be maintained at these temperature setpoints when open for business or occupied.

UNOCCUPIED HOURS (nights, weekends, holidays)

  • During unoccupied hours, including weekends and holidays, the temperature will be set at a level that will allow the University to efficiently and economically conserve energy.
  • Individuals controlling their own thermostats should set them at 55°F in the winter during nights, weekends, vacations and other times when the space will be unoccupied. Air- conditioners should be turned up or off during unoccupied times.
  • Exceptions to these temperature targets will be in laboratories, experimental areas, animal areas, or other spaces where there is a demonstrated work requirement for maintaining higher or more consistent temperatures.


    • Due to building characteristics and control limitations, actual temperatures may vary from the target setpoint.
    • Electric space heaters used to supplement central heating consume significant amounts of electricity and can be dangerous. They are not allowed except as authorized by Facilities.

o Only space heaters provided by Tufts Facilities should be used on campus. Personal space heaters are not allowed.

o Portable space heaters not authorized by University Facilities may be removed.

• During the Fall and Spring seasons, building temperatures may vary to a greater extent during the biannual switch between heating and cooling equipment. The decision to start central heating and/or air conditioning equipment will be made by Campus Facilities Directors based upon long-term weather predictions during the Fall and Spring. Historically switches happen during the middle of May and October.


  • Building occupants can contribute to their own comfort by wearing seasonally appropriate clothing; making sure that windows, storm windows, shades and blinds work and are positioned for the season; or by re-arranging their workspace to improve comfort (such as moving a desk away from a window).
  • Keep thermostats clear:
    o Do not block thermostats with wall furniture or equipment.
    o Move any heat generating equipment away from thermostats (lamps, computers,

    monitors, coffee makers, etc.). This equipment can cause false readings at the thermostat, and inappropriate temperatures in the building spaces.

  • Windows should not be opened during the winter to cool spaces. Windows and doors should not be propped open if a space is air conditioned.
  • Air conditioning temperatures may vary greatly depending on the building’s technology and the corresponding system’s most efficient operation. In some buildings cooler temperatures in the summer may actually be more efficient since the conditioned air is not being re-heated* as much after its humidity is reduced.

    Facilities Contact Information

    To report a problem with heating or cooling submit an online service request. For issues not able to be resolved by the Online Service Request please call:

Medford Facilities: Boston Facilities: Grafton Facilities:

7-3496 6-3535 9-7921

*central air conditioners will often cool down incoming air to de-humidify it, making it more comfortable to the building occupants, and then re-heat it to the desired temperature. In situations such as these, not re-heating the air saves energy since you are not using energy to add warmth the air.

On-line at: policy/