Building heat reductions will save money, reduce emissions during holiday break

December 10, 2013

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Once again this year, Penn State is aggressively pursuing the reduction of energy use over the holiday break. Temperatures in many University facilities will be reduced to conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the University.

At University Park, faculty and staff may use buildings over the holiday break, but indoor temperatures can be expected to be at 50 degrees and ventilation systems will be off.

All faculty and staff should have received notice via email. Special requests for exceptions to this procedure will be considered under the following guidelines and must be received prior to Friday, Dec. 13.

-- Requests will be reviewed only for facilities serving the general public and in laboratories where research projects could be compromised by the temperature setback.
-- Such exception requests, specifying dates and time of day, must be endorsed by the cognizant dean or administrative officer and forwarded to the responsible facility coordinator.
-- The facility coordinator will forward requests to Bob Mulhollem at the Office of Physical Plant.

At locations other than University Park, the appropriate provost, campus executive officer or administrative officer will determine the extent of the setback program and will review requests for exceptions and render decisions locally.

The holiday break this year will be from Dec. 21 through Jan. 1, inclusive. It is expected that building occupancy during this period will be minimal. At University Park, space temperatures will begin to be set downward on Friday, Dec. 20, at the close of business and will be restored to normal operating temperature by Thursday morning, Jan. 2.

Energy costs are continually rising for the University, and Penn State is aggressively pursuing the reduction of energy use where appropriate in accordance with Administrative Policy AD64. Reducing building temperatures conserves energy and generates savings for the University.

-- Energy costs for University Park alone will exceed $40 million this year.
-- The holiday heat reduction program at University Park has averaged about $225,000 annually or almost $5,000,000 in savings over the past 22 years thanks to the efforts of faculty and staff. 
-- Reduced steam and electricity consumption saves burning fossil fuels, which in turn eliminates the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
-- Saving energy is not only an issue of cost, but also one of environmental stewardship.

The University appreciates your cooperation in helping to reduce our energy expenditures and supporting our environmental stewardship initiatives during the holiday recess. More information on the Holiday Heat Reduction Program is available on OPP’s website. More information on Penn State’s energy and greenhouse gas emissions strategies are available at

Last Updated December 11, 2013