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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 69 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 experience temperature discomfort 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. For campus customers that remain uncomfortable even after contacting IPF, several low wattage personal heaters have been approved by IPF and MSU Purchasing that meet safety and efficiency guidelines, and can help improve personal comfort. View the Spartan MarketPlace personal heaters purchase guide (PDF) for more information on purchasing a heater.

In cases where the space temperature is consistently below 69 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.
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.

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 heated to 69 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.