Department of
Facilities Management
Brown University
Box 1941
295 Lloyd Ave.
Providence, RI 02912

Facility Emergency:
Tel: (401) 863-7800

Service Request:
Tel: (401) 863-7800

Main Office:
Tel: (401) 863-7850
Fax: (401) 863-7885

Overview of the Campus Heating/Cooling Systems

Facilities Management is pleased to provide an overview of the heating and cooling systems on campus as part of the changeover from air conditioning to heating and from heating to air conditioning. By sharing this information, our goal is to help the Brown community understand the operation of the heating and cooling systems on campus to improve your overall comfort level.

It is important to understand that there are a wide variety of heating and cooling system types installed within the various University buildings. The types of systems installed within a building have an effect on the overall comfort levels throughout each of the spaces within the building. Similarly, the types and location of building controls and control systems, such as thermostats, along with other variables such as the room exposure (north, south, east, west), the room internal heat sources (lights, people, computers, etc.), are all factors that have an impact on overall space comfort and temperature.

It is for these reasons that there may be a temperature swing from the intended University Temperature Policy heating and cooling setpoints. (View the Temperature Policy.) Also, certain research facilities may have differing temperature setpoints, which are dictated more by the nature of the work than by the temperature policy.

During the "shoulder" seasons in the spring and fall, it is important to remember to close your windows in the evening when temperatures are expected to drop. Not doing so can lead to a chilly building space in the morning. Additionally, be sure to check the 2010 Air Conditioning to Heating Changeover Schedule to find out when your building's heat (in the fall) or air conditioning (in the spring) will be turned on.

Many of the campus buildings utilize heating and cooling systems that are of a "changeover" design, which allows for the system to provide for either cooling or heating depending upon the season, but not both at the same time. The "changeover" design is a concern during the shoulder seasons, as Facilities Management staff must manually change the operation of the building system from heating to cooling and vice versa. As this changeover process is time-consuming, the changeover schedule is annually set based on the building needs, outside air temperatures and anticipated weather forecasts.

For a more detailed summary of representative types of building heating and cooling systems as well as their various control system types, please refer to this link: Overview of Temperature Control Parameters