Energy Guidelines

The University of Prince Edward Island spent approximately $5 million in 2008-09 on energy (electricity and heat). The implementation of these guidelines will result in savings that can be reallocated within the University while conserving our natural resources. Although energy conservation is the focus of this policy, comfortable work and study conditions must also be maintained.

The successful implementation of these guidelines can only be done with the assistance of the University community. Please take a few moments to review the guidelines and help us improve energy efficiency across campus. The office of Sustainability and Energy Management welcomes comments and suggestions on these guidelines which can be sent to

University Temperature Guidelines

To maintain reasonable comfort and lower energy expenditures, the University has established the following standards for comfort heating and cooling based on ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air conditioning Engineers) guidelines: 

Operation Temperature (Celsius) Temperature (Fahrenheit)
Heating - Occupied 20 68
Heating - Unoccupied 17 63
Cooling - Occupied 25 77
Cooling - Unoccupied 29 85

Cooling and heating temperatures will allow fluctuations of +/- 2°C. In buildings with centrally controlled heat and air conditioning, these temperatures will be set automatically. In areas lacking centrally controlled heat and air conditioning, temperatures will fluctuate beyond those outlined in these guidelines, but every effort should be made to adhere to the guidelines.

Occupied Hours (space is actively in use)

  • Thermostats in individually controlled spaces should be set at 20°C (68°F) during the winter and 25°C (77°F) during the summer.
  • Classrooms, the library, athletics facilities, the dining hall, and residence halls will be maintained at these temperature standards when open for business or occupied.
  • Offices: Occupied hours will include 8 AM to 6 PM on weekdays.

Unoccupied Hours (nights, weekends, holidays)

  • During unoccupied hours, including weekends and holidays, the temperature will be set at a level that will allow the University to efficiently and economically conserve energy.
  • Individuals controlling their own thermostats should set them at 17°C (63°F) in the winter during nights, weekends, vacations and other times when space will be unoccupied. Air-conditioners should be turned up to 29°C (85°F) or off during unoccupied times.
  • To improve comfort, do not block thermostats with wall furniture and equipment. Move any heat generating equipment away from thermostats (lamps, computers, monitors, coffee makers, etc.). This equipment can cause false readings at the thermostat, and inappropriate temperatures in the building spaces.

Due to building characteristics and control limitations, actual temperatures may vary from the target temperature. Air conditioning temperatures may vary greatly depending on the building’s technology and the corresponding system’s most efficient operation.  In some buildings, cooler temperatures in the summer may actually be more efficient since the conditioned air is not being re-heated as much after its humidity is reduced.

Special cases to these guidelines will be in laboratories, experimental areas, animal areas, or other spaces where there is a demonstrated work requirement for maintaining higher or more consistent temperatures. 

Building Resource Management

Windows and doors should be kept closed during the heating season and during the summer in those areas that have a mechanical cooling system. Blinds should be positioned to reduce the requirement for cooling in summer and improve heating efficiency in the winter. Occupants should wear seasonally appropriate clothing to improve comfort. Every member of the University community has the responsibility of closing windows, turning off personal (desktop) computers (including peripherals like printers, monitors and speakers) and shutting off the lights when leaving a room. Class schedules, meetings, and other campus activities should endeavor to minimize energy use. Evening classes will now be scheduled in McDougall, Main, Robertson, and Duffy buildings only.


Interior lighting will be fluorescent, whenever possible. New energy-saving fixtures, lamps, and ballasts will be used to replace existing less efficient lighting whenever economically feasible and appropriate. Exterior lighting will be high-pressure sodium or metal halide (metal halide is preferred) whenever possible and will meet minimum current safety requirements. Decorative lighting will be kept to a minimum. Lighting levels recommended by the most recent edition of the IES (Illuminating Engineering Society) Lighting Handbook shall be used as guidelines. Where it makes economic sense, occupancy/motion sensors (ultrasonic or infrared) wired to area lighting will be installed to reduce and/or turn off lights in unoccupied, vacated areas. Day-lighting controls will be installed to automatically adjust lighting levels as appropriate. Task lighting, such as desk lamps, is recommended to reduce overall ambient lighting levels, where appropriate. Desk lights should be of the fluorescent type, which is now readily available at local stores. Task lighting should also use compact fluorescent technology. Where economical and available, LED lighting will be utilized.

Space Heaters

Electric space heaters used to supplement central heating consume significant amounts of electricity and can be dangerous.  They are not allowed except as authorized by Facilities.

  • Only space heaters approved by Facilities Management should be used on campus. Personal space heaters are not allowed.
  • Portable space heaters not authorized by Facilities Management may be removed.

Window / Portable Air Conditioning Units

Window air conditioners are not permitted on campus. Portable air conditioning units are to be used only in exceptional circumstances and must be approved by Facilities Management. These units can cause damage to the buildings, have a high life cycle costs (energy and maintenance), and are noisy. Additionally, operating a unit in air conditioning mode below about 10°C (50°F) outside air temperature will quickly damage the unit. Specific petitions for installation of alternative heating/cooling will be reviewed only after Facilities Management has determined that the primary heating/cooling source is not capable of meeting University Temperature Guidelines.

Summer Cooling

Air conditioning may not begin until June 1 and will end no later than September 30. Special requirements outside this time period should be addressed to the Office of Sustainability and Energy Management. To minimize the need for cooling in the May time period, classes should be scheduled to minimize solar heat gain (i.e. morning classes should be in west-facing classrooms and afternoon classes in east-facing classrooms) when and where possible.

Holiday Periods

A period of closure for the University offers a great opportunity to save money on utilities. Past history has shown that very few people occupy the buildings for any substantial time during the holidays. With this in mind, buildings will be heated/cooled according to University Temperature Guidelines during holiday periods with the assumption that buildings are unoccupied. The exception to the policy will be buildings that contain special collections or sensitive equipment, or buildings that are officially open during the holidays. Requests for exceptions to this policy with justification should be addressed to the Office of Sustainability and Energy Management after curtailment plans for the upcoming holiday period have been issued.

New Construction

The University will continue to seek to reduce future energy costs in new facility construction and renovation whenever feasible. Current standards outlined in ASHRAE Standard No. 90.1 Energy Efficient Design of New Buildings Except Low Rise Residential Buildings will be followed as closely as possible. Additionally, all government regulations will be followed. All planning for major construction and equipment purchase/installation must include energy life cycle costing. UPEI will continue to develop and implement design standards for new construction to include energy efficiency and enhance sustainability.


These guidelines will be updated as new technologies (lighting, heating, cooling, etc) to improve energy efficiency become available and are implemented on campus.

Special Cases

Any exceptions must be approved through the Office of Sustainability and Facilities Management.


The Office of Sustainability and Energy Management encourages suggestions for additions or modifications to this Energy Guideline as well as other energy conservation suggestions. Please send to