Rice University Building Temperature Policy

The purpose of this policy is to efficiently manage the use of energy in the cooling, heating and dehumidification of Rice University facilities while providing a quality indoor environment that enables the university community to achieve our mission.

Building Temperature and Humidity Ranges

The following indoor temperature and humidity ranges for occupied spaces shall be maintained on campus:

Temperature Range

Relative Humidity

Air conditioning

74 – 78 degrees

40% minimum

65% maximum


68 – 72 degrees

40% minimum

65% maximum

These ranges fall within ASHRAE standard 55-2004 “Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy.”

Certain specialized areas -- such as laboratories, library collections, the Data Center and galleries -- are exempt from these guidelines but will be expected to be maintained within recognized efficient ranges for their type of use.

Appropriate nighttime, weekend and holiday setbacks will be implemented outside of established hours of operation.

Hours of Operation

The standard operating hours for the university are 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Classrooms operating hours are 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, with additional weekend operating hours on request. Laboratory and associated office operating hours will be established in consultation with the researchers and deans, with the intent of maximizing energy savings without disrupting research. The operating hours for public spaces will be established in consultation with the provost or vice president of administration.

Operating hours within certain facilities may vary, and reasonable requests for temporary deviations will be accommodated. Individuals or departments seeking significant ongoing deviations in operating hours must seek prior approval from the provost or the vice president of administration.

Policy Implementation

Occupied spaces in new or significantly renovated facilities are expected to be designed to operate and perform within these ranges.

Some building HVAC – heating, ventilation and air conditioning -- systems might not be able to achieve the intended temperature and humidity ranges for all of the occupied spaces that they serve. In such cases, written notification must be provided to the assistant vice president of facilities, the assistant vice president of project management and planning and the designated representative of the Energy Master Plan Steering Committee so that appropriate corrective action can be considered.

Background and Contact Information

The Rice University Building Temperature Policy was developed by a committee of faculty, staff and administrators representing a broad range of campus constituencies. The chair of this committee is the director of energy and sustainability, Richard Johnson. If you have questions about the policy itself, please contact him at sustainability@rice.edu. To report problems with temperatures in specific locations on campus, contact the Facilities Service Center at 713-348-2485 during business hours or 713-348-4095 after hours, or submit an online work request.