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Number of People 

One common trend we’ve discovered in our TherMOOstat feedback is that people feel uncomfortably warm after class begins. While factors such as mechanical issues, activity level or clothing level may attribute to their discomfort, one potential cause people often don’t consider as a possibility is the number of people in the room.


Though some of our TherMOOstat users note the number of people in the room, they may not know how it affects their comfort.


One vs. Many

Our bodies naturally generate heat. If there are only a few people in a large space, you may not feel a difference in room temperature. However, once more people enter the room, you may begin to notice that the room temperature is getting warmer. Although this may not be the case every time, it often explains why our TherMOOstat users feel warm or hot when settling in at the start of instruction.

"It's hot in here, and we have a room full of students for a final exam."


Case Study: Wellman Hall

Hover over these time slots to learn more about what happens in a Wellman classroom on a typical day!


6:00 AM

Our story begins in the wee hours of the morning, when the classrooms are dark and quiet. Around 6am, the building comes to life. The fans turn on and the building uses 62° F outside air to cool the rooms. Air temperatures mix to create 70° F air in the rooms. This may seem chilly, but this temperature helps keep the rooms cool with the upcoming onslaught of students. Let’s explore in a little more detail and see what’s going on in classroom number 26.


Fans Turn On

9:00 AM

Just after 9am the temperature is still about 70° F, but the room will quickly warm up as students trickle in for class. When class starts at 10am, the room is roughly 74° F. Since morning classes are a little smaller and the outside temperature is relatively low (in the 70s, °F), the room’s air conditioning units can maintain this temperature by simply increasing air flow.


Students Arrive


12:10 PM

It isn’t until people start packing the room for their 12:10pm class that things get heated. At 12:10pm, it’s about 74° F inside the classroom, and about 81° F outside. The room soon reaches its maximum occupancy, 120 people. The temperature in the room rises to 76° F in 15 minutes. The air conditioner responds by increasing air flow and brings the room temperature back down to 75° F. It’s an uphill battle though with all those warm bodies and flowing brain juices, so the temperature starts to creep back up.


Maximum Occupancy


3:45 PM

At 3:45 p.m., classes have been underway for several hours and the room has consistently had about 120 people in it. The room reaches a temperature of 77° F between 3:45pm and 4:30pm. The air conditioner has been steadily supplying 62° F air, at the room’s maximum rate of about 1400 cubic feet per minute, but with outside temperatures hovering around 92° F, it’s doing everything in its power to keep the room comfortable.


Hot Outside


7:30 PM

By 7:30 the day’s classes are over and the room temperature drops back to 71° F. The building gets a reprieve, until tomorrow…


Students Leave

Help Us Help You

If the room’s HVAC system is set to turn on with occupancy sensors or by predetermined scheduling, it takes time for the room to reach the set temperature points and for people in the room to feel the difference. However, if we consistently receive feedback throughout the day that a room feels stuffy or hot, there may be underlying issues. We rely on your TherMOOstat feedback to help us discover potential issues and improve your comfort. 

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