Skip to main content
Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityInfrastructure Planning and Facilities

Use of space heaters on campus

Michigan State University policy prohibits the use of portable space heaters on campus except in locations that have been approved by MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities. Portable space heaters are regulated because they can create system imbalances, overload building electrical circuits and use a significant amount of energy. If used improperly, space heaters can also become a fire hazard.

During the cooler part of year, most campus spaces are heated to 70 degrees during building occupied hours. This temperature is comfortable for most occupants when they are dressed properly for the season. However, because spaces on campus vary greatly in age, construction and function, exceptions will occur. Building occupants who feel uncomfortable on a regular basis should call MSU IPF at (517) 353-1760.

IPF’s team of professionals will identify the source of the problem and work to provide a comfortable work environment. Where space temperatures fall within university guidelines, the occupant will be advised about alternative options to increase system effectiveness and personal comfort. In cases where the space temperature is consistently below 70 degrees, IPF staff will determine if adjustments can be made to building systems or if supplemental heat may be needed. If a portable space heater is approved for the space, IPF will determine if existing electrical systems can support safe operation of these high amperage devices.

IPF should also be contacted when the space heater is to be used to offset excessive air conditioning. Building occupants are responsible for requesting approval before using a portable space heater on campus. According to the Manual of Business Procedures and the purchasing card users' manual, purchase of these heaters using an MSU account or purchasing card is prohibited. 

IPF recognizes that in some cases (such as extended repair time) a portable space heater is needed. By working through IPF and MSU Purchasing, campus customers can be assured that the portable space heater is safe and meets all necessary conditions for use. IPF will work to find a solution to ensure occupant comfort and energy efficiency.

Low wattage personal heaters can be purchased from Spartan Marketplace instead of space heaters.

Note: This information does not pertain to MSU Residential and Hospitality Services buildings, offices or departmental spaces.

Office comfort solutions

IPF encourages reduction of energy use through efficient building heating. During occupied hours, most MSU buildings are headed to 70 degrees and cooled to 75 degrees. Here are some tips to stay comfortable and use energy efficiently in campus offices:

  • Check the thermostat: Make sure there are no heat-producing appliances or equipment nearby to disrupt the temperature sensor.
  • Time for a change: Rearrange work areas to lessen exposure to cold areas and drafts. Keep books, boxes and furniture from blocking the registers.
  • Get out the sweaters: An extra layer will help with keeping warm. Scarves and shawls work, too.
  • Focus on feet: Wear warm socks and footwear. Low-wattage heated footrests and radiant panels are available. Desktop models can keep hands warm.
  • Cover the window air conditioner: Prevent cold air from coming in by using an interior cover.