If you're sitting in class thinking comfort is hopeless in classroom settings, think again! Comfort in classrooms is tricky because these classrooms are often big rooms (one of the biggest classrooms is Science Lecture Hall, which seats 511 people!). The bigger the room is, the more difficult it is to ventilate, heat and cool the space because the people in the room also generate heat. Even though comfort may be elusive from a mechanical perspective, there's plenty you can do to be comfortable in class.
1. Pay attention to where you sit.
We all have our favorite seat in the classroom, and it's easy to get stuck in the same seat every time, but that might not be the best seat for you. Where you sit in the classroom can impact your thermal comfort. If you get cold easily, try sitting toward the back of the room where it's typically warmer. And if you are typically hot, try sitting in the front of the room. You should also be watching out for the air vents in the room, because these can be a clue for a wanted or unwanted draft.
2. Adapt! Adjust your wardrobe.
There is nothing worse than power biking all the way from Med Sci to the Death Star and then sitting down in class feeling like you have just run a marathon. Fall temperatures tend to complicate our lives, so make the weather app your bff. It might be freezing cold out when you are en route to your 8 am, but 6 hours later, it's sunny and 75 and you're regretting your long sleeve shirt. Wear layers so you can adapt as the temperature changes throughout the day.
3. Know thy building.
This room is too hot, this room is too cold, this room is just right! Whether it is the type of chair, the smell, the temperature, or even random noises, every building on campus has its quirks. Set yourself up for success by knowing if a building is always hot (aka Haring) or if you have to bring a down jacket to protect yourself from the arctic tundra. Check out the map on TherMOOstat to see which buildings are voted the hottest and coldest on campus.
4. Think about who will show up for class.
Sitting in a packed 200 person lecture hall has a completely different feel than sitting in a 20 person discussion. Even more important, and harder to predict, is how full your class is going to be. If the class is 100% full, aka there's a midterm, it's probably going to feel warmer and stuffier in the room. On the flip side, if you're the studious one that shows up to an empty class it's going to feel a little cool and maybe drafty that day.
5. Let your voice be heard!
We want your opinion so let us know what you think! Go leave a comment on TherMOOstat so we see how you think the buildings feel. TherMOOstat even lets you select your level of clothing, so that we can make an accurate assessment of the situation in your room or space. And if you're ever wondering why we have a space for you to leave an open ended comment, check out this blog post about "What your comments are telling us".
Visit TherMOOstat.ucdavis.edu to tell us how comfy you are in your space!
At the Energy Conservation Office, we're here to find a balance between comfort and energy conservation. We know we need your help to find this balance, which is why your TherMOOstat feedback is so important to us and our work. Just by using TherMOOstat you're helping us save energy on campus. We enjoy working with you and keep up the great work!