Holy Cross Blogs

Heating in the Residence Halls

Updated: October 25, 2011

The purpose of this letter is to provide you information regarding the heating system in the residence halls. All the heating and air conditioning is controlled and monitored by the Holy Cross Energy Management System (EMS). The Central Heating Plant is located in Kimball Hall, where the steam pipe system distributes heat to each building on campus.

Residence Halls are heated based on an “occupied” and an “unoccupied” time Monday through Friday:

  • Occupied time: 4:00 pm - 9:00 am - temperature set is 70-73 degrees
  • Unoccupied time: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm - temperature set is 67-68 degrees

At 4:00 pm it returns to occupied temperature and remains until 1:00 am. Unoccupied time is determined when students are in class, library, labs, etc.

On Saturday and Sunday the occupied time is 5:00 am - 2:00 am. There is no unoccupied time during the weekend, realizing that most of your time is spent within the Residence Halls.

If the outside temperature is 30 degrees or below, the heat stays in the “occupied” time status from 4:00 am-2:00 am. If the outside temperature drops to 20 degrees or lower, the heat will stay in an “ON” position as long as the outside temperature remains at 20 degrees or below.

The heating systems in each residence hall are divided into heating zones. Sensors are used to monitor the temperature in certain rooms and pass the information onto the EMS. Below is some useful information regarding each residence hall:


These halls are steam heated. Each hall has 4 zones (North – South – East – West), with each zone having 2 sensors. The EMS looks at each sensor, averages the temperature, and then sets the temperature for that zone. This allows the EMS to control the valve in each zone which means you may have heat but the student across from you may not or vice versa.


This hall is heated by hot water. There are 4 zones (North – South – East – West), with each zone having 3 sensors. EMS looks at all 3 sensors and controls the temperature accordingly. (Same as above)


These halls are heated by hot water. Each building has 6 zones (North East – North West – East –West – South East – South West), with each zone having 3 sensors. The EMS controls the heat by checking each sensor and setting the temperature for that zone accordingly. There are no control valves to turn on/off the heat in individual rooms in these two buildings.


This Building is heated by hot water; there are no zones and no sensors. To control your heat you have fan coil units. At the fan coil unit there is a fan control switch-you may select High – Medium - Low. When you enter your room there is a thermostat on the wall with an easy to operate system select switch (Heat - Off - Cooling) and an LCD display. To increase the heat, push the up arrow, and to lower the heat, push the down arrow. Do not turn your system off if you want to cool down the room; leave the system running on “Low” and turn the temperature down at the thermostat. Turning your system off will cause heat to run through the pipes, causing the room to get warmer than if you run the system and turn the temperature down.


The Heating and Cooling System is operated by the campus Energy Management System. Each room has a Smart Sensor that allows for limited control of the fan coils in each room. The Energy Management System determines the operating mode based on the outside air temperature. The operating mode determines how the Smart Sensor and fan coil units operate. To adjust room temperature, press the “select” button twice on the Smart Sensor until the display reads “heat.” Then, push the up or down arrow to adjust the set point to the desired temperature, and then press “enter.”


This building is not on the Central Heating System, it has its own boiler. There are 3 thermostats in each apartment (Living room, Bedroom A, Bedroom B). Each thermostat has a manual selective switch (Heat – Off – Cooling), a 3-speed manual fan control switch (High – Medium – Low), and a slide bar to select the temperature. The temperature range is 55-95 degrees; in 10 degree increments with 75 degrees being the medium point. For a comfortable setting, run the fan on low. All public areas within the building are controlled by Energy Management Systems.

Thank you in advance for your attention and be mindful that through collaborative efforts the residence halls can be comfortable, temperature wise, for all.


The Office of Residence Life & Housing