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Fall Heating, Windows, and Clocks

Note: This is dated information and may not reflect the current policies in place on campus. Please refer to We Are WPI for the latest information.

October 28, 2020

This message was sent to the WPI Community.

Colder weather is here, and that means it’s heating season. As with everything else this year, heating the campus buildings is a little different, thanks to the pandemic.

The university completed a ventilation assessment earlier this year and updated or enhanced air handling systems throughout campus spaces to increase the flow of outside air in classrooms, labs, and residence halls to reduce the risk of virus transmission through the air. Keeping windows open is the simplest way to get fresh air into our buildings.

Although we recognize that keeping windows open in cold weather while the heat is on can reduce comfort and goes against our usual sustainability practices, maintaining a flow of fresh air into our spaces is more important right now.

So please:

  • Whenever possible, keep windows open when the space is occupied: offices, classrooms, labs, residence halls, etc. Adjust the heat where possible to maintain comfort, and consider wearing an extra layer of warm clothes.
  • Close windows completely when leaving a space overnight or for more than a few hours.
  • Close residence hall windows completely when leaving for class or other activities outside your room.

Closing windows when leaving a space is critically important during winter because in many spaces heating coils and plumbing are near windows and can freeze when exposed to cold outside air. Extensive damage can result to buildings if pipes or coils freeze and burst. We appreciate everyone’s extra diligence in monitoring open windows and freezing temperatures during these extraordinary times.

If you are experiencing significant issues with cold temperatures in your space, employees can fill out a SchoolDude work order or call extension 5500. Residential students should contact their Resident Advisor (RA) immediately for assistance with submitting a work order and addressing the issue.


Don’t forget: Daylight Savings Time ends this Sunday at 2 am, which means it’s time for Facilities to change the clocks all around campus. If you are on campus next week and notice a clock that was accidently missed, please email or call 5500 and they’ll make sure it gets changed.

And the time change is a good reminder to check that your smoke detectors at home are in good working order and have fresh batteries.

Thank you,

The Facilities Team