Harvard University Temperature Policy

The Harvard Temperature Policy was developed and adopted by stakeholders and facilities leaders representing all of Harvard's Schools and administrative departments. This university-wide policy provides a framework to assist building managers and occupants in achieving a healthy, productive, and safe working environment while reducing energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions to the lowest practicable level.

Adopted July, 23, 2009

  • During the winter heating season (approximately mid-October to mid-May), occupied spaces will be heated to 68-71° F; each School or Department will determine their specific targets.
  • During the summer cooling season (approximately mid-May to mid-October 15), occupied spaces will be cooled to 74-76° F (where air conditioning equipment currently exists); each School or Department will determine their specific targets. Buildings with stringent humidity requirements may operate below this range.
  • Occupants are also reminded that personal space heaters or other heating or cooling devices may present a safety risk and are prohibited from use unless provided by the building manager.


These space temperature ranges are based on established standards for human comfort, productivity and safety. Harvard building occupants will be made aware of the specific space temperature targets and feedback systems in place in their buildings. Occupants are encouraged to work with local building management staff to achieve acceptable temperature, humidity and ventilation levels.

Maximum comfort and efficiency will be achieved when occupants and building managers actively adapt to building conditions through modification of air flow, sunlight, and apparel choices, among other comfort factors. Actual space temperatures may vary across Harvard’s buildings due to the wide range of space types and building control systems on campus.

Harvard will periodically evaluate this temperature policy based on improvements to building systems; advances in occupant comfort and productivity research; and feedback from occupants. We look forward to working with building occupants to create a comfortable and energy-conserving environment.