Campus Air Conditioning, Facilities | Earlham College
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Campus Air Conditioning

The normal start-up date for campus building cooling systems is April 15th. The normal shut down date for these cooling systems is the week after Homecoming in October. This includes the removal of window A/C units around campus. All of this is partially determined by seasonal weather.


Cooling System Coverage

Buildings on the main "chilled water loop" for air conditioning:

Athletics & Wellness Center; Tyler; Dennis; Noyes; Stanley; Goddard Auditorium; Lilly Library; Runyan Center; Earlham Hall (including dining hall)

Buildings or parts thereof with independent, building-wide air conditioning systems:  Bolling Center; Olvey-Andis; Barrett; Warren / Wilson / Mills; Admissions South; Service Building; Carpenter 1st floor administrative suite

Buildings with no central air conditioning, except for window units:  Carpenter (except for Goddard Auditorium and administrative suite); Hoerner; Bundy; Stout Meetinghouse; campus houses

Computer network server rooms have their own, independent cooling systems, run 24/7/365, and are not included in the spring and fall cooling / heating transitions.

Why We Do What We Do

The fall and spring switch-overs require a lot of skilled, thoughtful labor, and so are not something that can be done one week, and then undone the next if the weather changes.

Fall cooling system shut-down is normally scheduled to happen right after Homecoming, depending on consistent night time temperatures below 40 degrees F. The cooling towers that provide cooling capacity for the main system contain water, and must be drained before freezing weather in the fall and then filled after the last hard freeze in the spring.  If the towers were filled with water during an extended, hard freeze, the resulting split pipes and other damage would be very expensive($100,000+) to fix, and if it happened in the spring, would mean uncooled major buildings well into May or even June.  So, we are very cautious about both the fall draining and the spring filling.

The main system saves many tens of thousands of dollars per year in annual utility costs (my rough estimate), at the price of reduced flexibility during the fall and spring transitions.

The heating and cooling systems for the Warren / Wilson / Mills dormitories were designed in such a way that they can either provide heat or cooling (but not both simultaneously) and require a fair amount of skilled labor to switch back and forth.   Other buildings on campus with cooling capacity have the ability to run both heating and cooling without Facilities intervention, so their occupants are not at the mercy of a late spring cold snap.

With typically volatile Midwestern fall and spring weather, all of the above combine to guarantee some number of unhappy building occupants during these transition seasons.  I am convinced that the skill and dedication applied every day by our experienced Facilities staff keep this dissatisfaction to a minimum, without exception.

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Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Earlham College
801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
1-765-983-1200 — Main Switchboard
1-800-EARLHAM (327-5426) — Admission


Earlham admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.