Demand that the University's Estates & Facilities manage heating and air conditioning better

Alexander Petrov submitted on

Thursday 14th February 2019


Cold wind blowing in the winter as well as extreme heat is a common occurrence. The Hartley Library is notorious for randomly becoming too hot or too cold.

The SUSU building is also a victim of this gross mismanagement. For example, there are vents behind the slits in the walls on Level 3 that blow cold wind every evening without fail. Plus all the complaints that the Old Sports Hall was too cold during exams.

I'd expect that the air conditioning of large buildings suffers from fluctuations and so on, but we're talking about extremities on a constant basis here.


Here, you can view the complete set of official responses from the sabbatical officers regarding this submission.

Students' Union replied on

Monday 18th Mar 2019 3:52pm

Hello again! 

Following the fairly comprehensive reponse provided a couple of weeks ago there has been very little to report on the above. Unfortunately the nature of estates issues (and those involving buildings) means that they can naturally take a long time to come to fruition. However I hope that the above gives you some reassurance as to the projects currently going on to manage heating/cooling better in a few key locations around campus. 

I'm going to close this You Make Change for now, but if you have any further questions or suggestions please let me know. 

Thanks for making the submission, and best wishes, 

Samuel Dedman (SUSU VP Education 2017-19,

Students' Union replied on

Monday 25th Feb 2019 4:01pm

Hello again Alexander! 

I've just had responses from a few people at both the Union and the University with regards to the points you've raised above. 


From the University and directly relating to Hartley Library I have had the following: 

The layout of the building does present the Estates Heating Team with a particular set of challenges when trying to ensure a comfortable temperature in the Library.  However in recent months there has been progress.  At the end of last summer contractors replaced an air handling unit on Level 5 which feeds ventilation into the core of the building.  Settings were also modified on other plant machinery on the roof which feeds floor Level 5 and also provides ventilation to the East side of the building.  Both works have had a considerable benefit.  Temperatures in these areas are no longer subject to extreme heat fluctuations. For example temperatures were hitting 29c at the end of the summer, and after the work was completed they dropped (within a couple of days) to a consistent 22c.  Ambient fresh air flow is taken to many areas of the building such as Group Study Rooms and toilet facilities where air flow had been noticeably poor prior to the work. 

Estates maintenance teams have been working to improve the control of (cold) temperature at the front of the building on Level 4 and 5 near the spiral stairs.  This work is on-going.

I understand from Estates that another air handling unit (AHU9) located on Level 5 has been identified for replacement in the near future.  Potentially this could make big improvement in the air quality and temperature moderation of the building,  just as the previous replacement did.

A project due in the near future is to optimise existing air flow distribution in the building by mapping duct runs and then ensuring that all ducting is installed and working correctly.

There are still areas of the library which remain difficult to manage in regards to the temperature fluctuations, such as the Library Foyer.  In the future it is hoped these known faults can be addressed through redesigns.


And from the Union

We can only play a minor part in regulating the temperature in our areas, such as shutting windows and doors appropriately. 

For anything to do with adjustment of the Building Management System, all we can do is report when an area is too hot or too cold to Estates and Facilities.  They will normally respond within a couple of hours (during working hours) to sort the problem as best they can with an ageing and clunky infrastructure.

I guess the only thing to stress is that if there is a particular issue, students should report the trouble to Reception/Facilities by email (, phone (023 8059 5200) or in person and we will call in E&F.


I have gone back to the SUSU team to see if something can be done about the Bar 2/Bar 3 windows in particular, but as mentioned above this is entirely dependent on the University to do the actual works. However if there are other issues that you can think of that we should be addressing please let me or the SUSU Facilities team know and we'll do our best to help out. I'll leave this submission live to collect any more comments, questions or suggestions in the meantime. 

All the best,

Samuel Dedman

(SUSU VP Education 2017-19,

Students' Union replied on

Friday 15th Feb 2019 2:21pm

Hi Alexander, 

Thanks for getting in touch. There are a few different elements to this You Make Change submission so I'm going to work through each of them in turn: 

  1. The challenges faced in Hartley Library are, as you point out, well known. This is, unfortunately, simply a challenge of the Library being an old building that inherently suffers from these drastic fluctuations in temperature. I'll pass this comment on to the team, but I don't think a solution is going to be forthcoming any time soon without considerable investment in the facilities. 
  2. The SUSU building commensts are ones that I make sure are passed on. While we do some of the upkeep of the building the University actually do the majority of the estates work for it, and so I'm not sure how much of it is within our direct control. 

I'll be back once I have an update (or updates!) on the above. For now your You Make Change submission is live on the SUSU website so please share it around for voting and commenting. 

All the best,

Samuel Dedman

(SUSU VP Education 2017-19,


  • Forwarded to Education

    Friday 15th Feb 2019 1:39pm


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