Building temperature policy nets savings for Duke

July 08, 2010

A building temperature and scheduling policy started in November has saved Duke more than $200,000 while cutting back energy use as part of the university’s goal to become climate neutral by 2024.

The policy, which is part of ongoing administrative reform efforts to reduce expenses, set new temperatures during regular and off-hours in university buildings on the central control system. Despite a colder than normal winter and a record-setting heat wave in June, heating and cooling in buildings like the Law School, Duke Athletics facilities and the Sanford School of Public Policy are down about 30 percent.

“Both the energy and financial savings produced through the new policy have made a positive impact that will last,” said John Noonan, associate vice president for Facilities Management. “This was a step to take to move toward achieving two important goals for Duke.”

Current building temperatures typically fall in the 70 to 76 degree range, said Steve Palumbo, energy manager for the Facilities Management Department. The new temperature and scheduling policy isn’t far from those settings:

  • Where possible, temperatures in university buildings on the central control system will be set at approximately 76 degrees this summer. Those temperatures will be used during regular business hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday.
  • Off-hour temperatures of 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and weekends will be set to 80 degrees.
  • Actual room temperatures can be within two degrees (plus or minus) of the new set points.


Once the plan is fully incorporated, it’s expected to save Duke more than $600,000 a year. To find out about implementing a policy in an office or building, call (919) 684-2122.

By Bryan Roth, Office of Communication Services