Tricks Of The Trade: Temperature Complaints

By B. Kevin Folsom, CEP
Published in the April 2013 issue of Today’s Facility Manager

QWhat is the number one complaint you receive in your facilities concerning temperature comfort? How do you handle these?

Barry Epstein
Piedmont Service Group
Greensboro/Winston-Salem, NC

AThis is the big kahuna of FM issues. Actually, I call this one a myth because it’s impossible to satisfy. I have taken numerous surveys on our campus, and time and time again 50% of occupants say “too cold” and 50% say “too hot.” What is one to do about such a dilemma? FM is the job of managing facility related expectations. Following is a simple strategy to discuss with leadership for implementation.

  1. Establish an agreed upon temperature parameter with a 2° swing of actual room temperature, not thermostat setting. For instance, aiming for a 74°F average means some areas may be 72°F while other areas may be 76°F.
  2. Using a data logger type device, measure areas for which you consistently receive complaints.
  3. If you cannot meet the agreed upon parameters with the built-in facility system, provide portable climate devices.
  4. Educate occupants on how their clothing and physical condition can affect comfort in the facility. For instance, layered clothing enables flexibility, and depending on one’s physical condition (illness, hot flashes, stress, etc.) one can be too cold one day and too hot the next, even when the temperature inside the facility is constant.
  5. If you cannot meet the parameters that are set with existing equipment, you may need to spend some money on your mechanical system to bring it in line with desired conditions.