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Students, faculty weigh in on Rutgers heating system

<p>Angel Zhang, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said the heat could affect students’ focus.</p>

Angel Zhang, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said the heat could affect students’ focus.

As winter approaches, heat has become a major issue on the campuses at Rutgers University. Feeling cold can cause problems for both student and faculty health such as catching a cold or a virus such as the flu or pneumonia. 

Michael Kornitas, the director of Sustainability and Energy at Rutgers, said the heating systems vary on each campus. The College Avenue campus as well as Cook and Douglass campuses have central heating plants powered by natural gas that can be adjusted by thermostats. Some buildings have individual boilers.

“There are some buildings that (have) what is called two-pipe systems in the buildings. Main valves within the building for cooling are closed off and main valves for heating are opened up,” Kornitas said.

Busch campus, Livingston campus and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences buildings all have cogeneration and central heating plants, which also use natural gas, thermostats and, in some cases, individual boilers, Kornitas said. 

“Heating gets turned on in the fall about Oct. 15. This date changes based on individual building occupancy with a joint decision between building and facilities,” Kornitas said.

Angel Zhang, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said the heating system does not always allow students to adjust it based on their preferences. 

“I feel like the heat in (residence halls) where you can’t change it or there’s no thermostat usually (is) way too high, and it can feel suffocating sometimes (due to) how hot it is,” Zhang said. “I definitely think temperature can affect student productivity because if it’s too hot or too cold, students may find it too hard to concentrate and focus. They won’t be able to work to their full potential.” 

Trevor Shu, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, said he has not had trouble with the heating in his residence hall.

“I think the heat is managed fairly well. Most of my friends don't really seem to have issues with the heating, whether it be too hot or too cold,” Shu said. “In my own experience, most of my roommates have preferred to keep the room on the cooler side so I've never really had any personal issues with the heating as I like the temperatures a little colder."

Shu said the climate of the residence halls can change how a student performs academically. 

“The external environment can introduce different stressors based upon the ambient temperature and lead to lower productivity,” Shu said. 

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