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Buildings

Committed to sustainable design, construction, and renovation

UMD construction and renovation projects meet sustainability goals for site, water, energy, indoor environment, materials and waste. Several UMD buildings are LEED certified and all campus buildings that begin the design phase after January 1st, 2015 comply with Minnesota's B3 Sustainable Building guidelines. 

View our buildings and other green features through the Virtual Sustainability Tour!

Operation and Maintenance

Buildings are operated by the BSAC team (Building Systems and Controls) of Facilities Management who monitor temperatures and maintain heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment. As 90% of UMD's emissions come from heating and powering our campus buildings, the BSAC team is critical to reducing emissions and bringing us closer to becoming a carbon neutral campus, as outlined in UMD's Energy Action Plan

Turning on the air conditioning at UMD is not as easy as flipping a switch -- in fact, it takes nearly a week to prep the system before cooling can begin. 

  1. Chilling towers are flooded and coils in the air handling systems are filled with water to prepare for the cooling season.
  2. Once the system is prepared, cool water from the chillers is pumped to the cooling coils in the air handling units, which in turn cool the air supplied to the occupied spaces.
The Heating Plant burns natural gas to create steam that heats over 50 campus buildings. The steam district system has undergone many upgrades to make it energy efficient, including double-lined piping upgrades, insulation, and steam trap replacements.

During winter breaks, the UMD campus shuts down all of the mechanical systems except the essential ones.

  • Buildings are closed and the UMD campus goes into a low-occupancy mode.
  • Buildings are operated at temperatures lower than normal and with limited ventilation. 
In addition to equipment and software that allow for precise measurements, BSAC staff also use other means to make heating and cooling the campus more efficient. 

  1. Some classrooms and offices are now operated on occupancy sensors. While classrooms are unoccupied, variable frequency fans are turned down. In the winter, this results in cooler rooms that warm as the day goes on.
  2. While some HVAC adjustments have to be made manually by the BSAC staff, many adjustments can be made remotely. A centralized system allows changes to be made within moments of identification of a problem. In addition, BSAC staff also use smartphone apps that allow access to building controls, making changes possible from anywhere.

Feeling Uncomfortable? 

UMD has a Campus Temperature Set Point Standard to help conserve energy.

  • Heating: 68F to 70F 
  • Cooling: 74F to 76F

This balance can save money and reduce environmental impacts. 

However, sometimes indoor comfort issues are an indication of larger problems with the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. If you have concerns or experience extremely warm or cold conditions, please contact Facilities Management at x8262.

Temperature magnets are available through the Sustainability Office to help monitor temperature and provide more detail when calling Facilities Management. Get yours today by emailing sustain@d.umn.edu!