How low should classroom thermostats go?

Today’s Rochester Post-Bulletin brings news that the school district — grappling with how to close a $10 million deficit — “could be looking at colder … classrooms next year.”

Currently, Rochester school thermostats set at “around 70 degrees,” reporter Elliot Mann writes. Lowering the dial and making other conservation improvements could save $220,000 of the $10 mil.

Speaking as a man known to his family as the “Daddy radiator,” I can tell you 70 would be Sahara-like at my abode. Because the closest thing I have to a super power is cold tolerance, I have tortured my family with the thermostat as low as 64, though fearing divorce and child endangerment, this year’s setting is currently 66.

Given the perilous state of Minnesota public school finances — which will worsen in the coming deficit-wracked session — Rochester’s prospective turndown won’t be the last.

I imagine ancient heating systems and drafty building complicate the picture but teachers, parents, students, taxpayers: where should a school’s themostat be set? How low can it go before learning seizes up completely?

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Chris Johnson on 11/25/2008 - 02:24 pm.

    I have to wonder if Minneapolis schools couldn’t save some money this way. My son’s school is always the warmest building I visit in the winter, and often classrooms have windows open to cool it off even on cold days. I don’t know what their thermostats are set to, but 72 – 74 seems to be the ambient temperature.

    We keep our home at 65 during the day, 55 at night, and 68 during the wake up / go to bed times. Working at home (as I imagine you do David), I have hard time keeping my fingers warm enough to type comfortably at 65, however. Any suggestions?

  2. Submitted by Kassie Church on 11/25/2008 - 02:26 pm.

    The State of Minnesota Dept. of Administration says that State buildings should have temps of 68 to 70 degrees in occupied areas and slightly colder in lobbies, cooridors and restrooms. Being in one right now, it seems pretty dang warm.

    Also, one of our buildings needs to be airconditioned all winter long to keep near this standard due to the heat of computers and people.

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