During the winter, entering any classroom during the day is a gamble in terms of what temperature to expect. Rooms are either stuffy and overheated or freezing cold, with very few managing to hit a comfortable temperature. There has been a large amount of frustration regarding the air conditioning system from both students and faculty alike.
“I find that the school air conditioning is rather polarized,” junior Gannon Palm said. “It’s either very hot or very cold.”
Rumors that the problems with the system are a result of it malfunctioning have spread throughout the faculty and student body.
“I’ve heard that the system is kind of broken, that there’s a glitch [and] it’s never going to work right,” science teacher Elizabeth Hurley said.
In reality, the system is relatively modern and recently received an overhaul as a result of the recent building renovations.
“It’s new since the school just came out of renovation and it is sufficient,” building engineer Jaime Bagtas said.
Where the disconnect lies is not in the functionality of the system itself, but the actual level of power the faculty has to control it. Staff members have very limited direct control over the system in their rooms. They can change the temperature of the room by two degrees in either direction, but any change greater than this is controlled by Energy Management, a department outside of the building.
“I don’t know what I thought I was doing when I changed [it] to cool before I set it,” Hurley said.
In fact, not even Bagtas is able to directly control it. His job primarily focuses on the physical upkeep of the system and communicating with Energy Management regarding physical parts for the system and work orders.
“I have no general control over it because we have Energy Management that controls the heating and cooling plan,” Bagtas said. “I am the one responsible for its operations and [making] sure it’s in top operating conditions.”
Hurley believes there would be less complaints about the system if the managers implemented better humidity control.
“I think they can save a lot in efficiency if they regulated the humidity levels better,” Hurley said. “70 [degrees] when it’s dry feels really different from 70 [degrees] when it’s humid.”
Additionally, Hurley thinks that another effective way to alleviate frustration over the system is by having less dependence on it in general and focusing on alternative ways to regulate temperature.
“There’s many times in the year [where] we don’t need heating or cooling, we just need to be able to open windows,” Hurley said. “The temperature outside is just fine.”