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Tricks Of The Trade: Temperature Complaints

Written by Tricks Of The Trade Columnist. Posted in Ask The Expert, Columnists, Featured Post, Magazine, Technology, Topics, Tricks of the Trade

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Published on May 22, 2013 with No Comments

By B. Kevin Folsom, CEP
Published in the April 2013 issue of Today’s Facility Manager

QWhat is the number one complaint you receive in your facilities concerning temperature comfort? How do you handle these?

Barry Epstein
Piedmont Service Group
Greensboro/Winston-Salem, NC

AThis is the big kahuna of FM issues. Actually, I call this one a myth because it’s impossible to satisfy. I have taken numerous surveys on our campus, and time and time again 50% of occupants say “too cold” and 50% say “too hot.” What is one to do about such a dilemma? FM is the job of managing facility related expectations. Following is a simple strategy to discuss with leadership for implementation.

  1. Establish an agreed upon temperature parameter with a 2° swing of actual room temperature, not thermostat setting. For instance, aiming for a 74°F average means some areas may be 72°F while other areas may be 76°F.
  2. Using a data logger type device, measure areas for which you consistently receive complaints.
  3. If you cannot meet the agreed upon parameters with the built-in facility system, provide portable climate devices.
  4. Educate occupants on how their clothing and physical condition can affect comfort in the facility. For instance, layered clothing enables flexibility, and depending on one’s physical condition (illness, hot flashes, stress, etc.) one can be too cold one day and too hot the next, even when the temperature inside the facility is constant.
  5. If you cannot meet the parameters that are set with existing equipment, you may need to spend some money on your mechanical system to bring it in line with desired conditions. 

About Tricks Of The Trade Columnist

Tricks Of The Trade Columnist

Folsom is director of campus operations at Trinity Christian Academy in Addison, TX. Previously, he was director of facilities & plant operations, and energy procurement & efficiency at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, TX, where he worked for 25 years. He is the recipient of numerous awards from the associations of Higher Education Facility Officers and Energy Engineers for facility and energy management practices, industry leadership and involvement, and writing. He has also provided facilities assessment consulting to several organizations through All questions have been submitted via the “Ask The Expert” portion of the magazine’s web site. To pose a question, visit this link.

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