Campus Life

Holiday Heat Reduction Program to begin end of day Dec. 21

Credit: Patrick Mansell / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State is known for its dedication to energy conservation initiatives. The University is on track to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 35% by 2020 and continues to make thoughtful investments to reduce energy use through conservation programs. A key initiative helping Penn State pursue its future energy conservation goals is the annual Holiday Heat Reduction Program.

Over the holiday break, as stated in Penn State's Energy Conservation Policy, temperatures in many University facilities will be reduced to conserve energy, reduce emissions, and generate savings for the University. 

Faculty and staff may use buildings during the holiday break, but indoor temperatures can be expected to be at 50°F and ventilation systems will be off beginning at 5 p.m. Dec. 21 through the morning of Dec. 31. Dec. 31 is not included in the holiday break and normal occupied indoor temperatures of 70°F can be expected. Jan. 1, 2020, also is a University holiday with expected indoor temperatures of 60°F.

At University Park, there are opportunities for exceptions to the above schedule. Faculty and staff members who have an exception based on a business-related need are asked to submit requests using the following procedure. Requests must be received by Wednesday, Dec. 18.

  • Specify the dates and time of day for the exception — which must be endorsed by the appropriate dean or administrative officer — and forward it to the responsible facility coordinator.
  • Requests should indicate a specific work-related need or may be related to facilities serving the general public or for laboratories where research projects could be compromised by a temperature setback.
  • The facility coordinator will submit the requests to Clayton Powers at the Office of Physical Plant.

At locations other than University Park, the campus executive office or administrative officer will determine the extent of the setback program, review requests for exceptions, and render decisions locally.

The official holiday break this year will be from Dec. 23 through Dec. 30. Jan. 1, 2020, is also a University holiday. It is expected that building occupancy during this period will be minimal. Please note, all buildings will remain locked on Dec. 31; however, key and card access will work for employees, and requests can be made to the Physical Security Office ( for a specific area to be unlocked on this date. Requests should be submitted prior to noon on Wednesday, Dec. 18, and should be routed through the appropriate master access coordinator/facility coordinator.

The Holiday Heat Reduction Program at University Park has averaged about $225,000 in savings per year. Faculty and staff cooperation in helping to reduce the University’s energy expenditures and supporting Penn State’s environmental stewardship initiatives during the holiday recess is greatly appreciated.

Further information may be found on the Office of Physical Plant website.

Last Updated December 09, 2019