Get Your Fleece On! Or, simply “The Fleece Blanket Program” as it became known had a successful sophomore heating season. With the overwhelming response from 2016/17, and the waiting list for inventory that ensued, a continuation of the program was essential. Similar to the previous year, fleece blankets were provided to employees who were feeling consistently chilly in their workspace. That is, only after providing evidence that they had made efforts to have the HVAC system in their area assessed for any deficiencies that may have been causing the cooler temperatures. In addition, a standard was set that those who were requesting blankets must also have been consistently ensuring windows and doors were closed in their area, and that they had been dressed appropriately for the season or weather.
Participants of the program were given insight on the adverse effects of space heaters, and asked to sign a pledge that stated they would use such devices less, or remove them entirely from campus.
This year, a survey was developed: Part 1 asked why participants were feeling cool, and in the spring, part 2 was distributed to provide opportunities for feedback on how the blankets affected their comfort levels.
There were significantly less blankets distributed this year compared to last (18 vs. 125). Does this mean that nearly everyone that was once feeling chronically chilly is now comfortable? Had the conversations about HVAC and the diligence from the mechanical staff paid off from troubleshooting and correcting problematic spaces? Likely, it was a bit of both.
As energy efficiency, carbon emissions reduction, and sustainability at increasingly promoted and supported at UFV – students, staff and faculty are much more understanding of the pressing nature of these issues, and welcome any forms of solutions – in this case, passive personal temperature regulation.
Feedback provided indicated a clear appreciated by uncomfortable staff members to have their concerns heard, and moreso to have action taken to improve their comfort at work.
Interestingly, there were an increased number of complaints received by the Facilities Department with regards to occupants being ‘cool’ or ‘cold’. Was this in response to having a proven willingness to act on those complaints, and a strong track record for feedback upon completion of the work? Time will tell.