IS-1420 Energy Standards and Guidelines


Effective Date: 7/25/2017


In the spring of 2008, CNM President Katharine Winograd signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) to proactively reduce Green-House Gas (GHG) emissions. After signing, she convened the President’s Sustainability and Climate Commitment Task Force (PSCC), which studied opportunities for CNM to become more sustainable and to reduce the College’s carbon footprint. In 2009, after a year of institutional research, the Task Force generated the Environmental Sustainability and Climate Neutrality Plan. The one resoundingly significant goal that flows throughout all areas of impact, and across all individual areas of interest, is a goal of educating and informing the CNM community. This Campus Energy Policy comes out of those recommendations. This policy also supports CNM’s educational mission and commitment to environmental stewardship. Energy reduction resulting from the policy helps curtail global, social and environmental impacts including the country’s dependency on fossil fuels and reduces the production of undesirable greenhouse gases.

Notable actions taken to date include a new ground source heating system for the Rio Rancho Campus. West Side Campus (WSI), and the Smith Brasher Building on Main Campus.  Additionally, HVAC upgrades have been implemented in several existing buildings. Numerous other projects have been completed or are ongoing, such as energy efficiency retrofits, energy audits, and construction of high performance green buildings. CNM is also working to reduce energy usage of computing and other electronic equipment through various energy efficiency projects and cyber infrastructure programs.

Proactive conservation reduces college and state fiscal expenditures while concurrently limiting adverse environmental impacts associated with energy production and consumption. The avoided utility costs benefit CNM’s mission and make us good stewards of state tax dollars and student tuition. While maintaining energy conservation efforts, we seek to balance customer service, cost-efficiency and environmental concerns while maintaining comfort standards.

1. Indoor Space Temperatures Guidelines

To support our commitment to the climate and to other institutional conservation goals, we have implemented Best Practices that have been guided by nation-wide standards and methods. The built environment is the single largest user of energy. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that buildings have the greatest potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (1)The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that Building Energy Standards/Codes are in place to reduce this effect (2). There are two acceptable national standards used in the building sector to adhere to EPA recommendations. Those standards are the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for residential buildings and the ASHRAE Standard 90.1 for commercial buildings, which is also recommended by the Department of Energy (DOE) (ibid). Many states, including New Mexico, have State Energy Codes that meet or exceed ASHRAE Standard 90.1—2010 (ibid). Since human comfort and wellbeing are a fundamental component of sustainable systems, formulas are applied to uses of occupied spaces depending on specific use-of-space to determine appropriate thermostat set-points and other variables.

At CNM, the indoor Space Temperatures Policy is in place to ensure that all buildings thermostats and other controls are set according to the following criteria: climate, variable weather conditions, and interpretations of specific uses and their associated human metabolic rates (Ashrae standard calculations for thermal comfort).  This includes making sure that data centers and other areas with special equipment sensitive to temperature extremes are accommodated accordingly. Therefore, each building has its own unique temperature guidelines, but in general, CNM’s standards align with other colleges in Albuquerque.

If for any reason, the temperature of your room seems hotter or colder than the ranges noted below in Table 1, you must go to the PPD website—Operations— to fill out a work order

If it is an emergency situation, please contact Maintenance Directly at the Physical Plant Department (505) 224-4565. Additionally, buildings should not be in-use outside of standard operating hours. If a special event is scheduled, Maintenance MUST be notified at least 72 hours in advance.

Table 1 below gives a range of possible temperatures depending on building use and associated metabolic interpretations. It identifies both unoccupied and occupied standards. Energy standards and associated policies apply to all spaces, such as those occupied by leasees.


Occupied Time Temperature (°F)

Unoccupied Time
Temperature (°F)






Offices, classrooms, residences and teaching labs

73-77 °F *

68-72 °F

85 °F

55-60 °F Depending on building/equipment needs

Special Situations See Section 1.4

The conditions in this type of space are dependent on the process/activity and customer requirements and may vary depending on the process involved.

External commercial housing, rentals, dining/conference room guests

Similar to conditions provided in public or private commercial sector space, but will follow occupancy guidelines established by CNM if they adhere to the type of space listed in this table.

Special Events

Generally, buildings should not be in use outside of standard operating hours. If a special event is scheduled, Maintenance MUST be notified at least 72 hours in advance.

Table 1

*In most cases, occupied spaces will be within 2 degrees of user set points. The heating/cooling of a space will take time to adjust to user modifications.

1.1. Cooling

1.1.1 Occupied room temperatures should be maintained between 73° and 77° F. 

1.1.2 During unoccupied times such as nights and weekends and whenever it is economically and technically feasible, night setback features of the Building Automation System (BAS) will be utilized to increase temperatures to 85°F (and/or a maximum relative humidity of 60%).

1.2 Heating

1.2.1. Occupied room temperatures should be maintained between 68° and 72° F

1.2.2 During unoccupied times such as nights and weekends and whenever it is economically and technically feasible, night setback features of the BAS will be utilized to decrease temperatures to 60°F (and/or a maximum relative humidity of 60%).

1.2.3. The use of personal electric heaters is strictly prohibited by CNM policy (Employee Handbook 12.22).

1.3 Exceptions

1.3.1. Areas that are either too hot or too cold should be reported as soon as possible to the Physical Plant Department via work order so that they may investigate. If it is found that an area is within temperature guidelines, no adjustments will be made.

1.4 Special Situations

1.4.1. Select spaces or users, such as certain laboratory space, e.g., data centers, chemical, biological, research, vivarium (animal lab) or exercise and therapy areas, may require special indoor environments different than those established within this policy.

1.5 Unoccupied hours (Heating and Cooling Special Requests)

1.5.1 We will utilize the most energy efficient means at our disposal of supplying heat or cooling for approved unoccupied hours heating and cooling requests. Close coordination of scheduled events, class changes and special needs is required. As a conservation measure, Maintenance and Operations (M&O) seeks to minimize the use of central fan systems during off-hours, consistent with the academic needs of the College. Unique or unexpected requests can be made by filling out a Facility Usage and Authorization Form and by contacting Scheduling who will determine a space that  does not conflict with HVAC schedules. Scheduling will then file a work order with M&O. If a special event is scheduled, Maintenance must be notified at least 72 hours in advance. See section 1.5.1 for additional information.

1.6 Holiday and weekend “Shutdown”

1.6.1. Whenever the campus calendar enables an extended period of closure (e.g. holidays, and  intercession), the College will strive to maximize energy savings. M&O will make the necessary HVAC scheduling adjustments. Before the closure period, extra efforts must be made by the Campus Community to conserve energy such as: drawing curtains and assure windows are shut tightly, shutting off lights, shutting down computers and other equipment. Also unplug equipment that is not connected to a data center, such as speakers, office equipment, lounge appliances, battery chargers, etc. Computers should not be unplugged, but rather shutdown, in case updates need to be installed.

2. Buildings/Operations

2.1. Windows and doors of the conditioned spaces should be kept closed when the HVAC systems are running.

2.2. Lights, office equipment, lounge appliances and personal computers should be turned off or shutdown when not in use.

2.3. Power management features of personal computers should be enabled.

2.4. Energy Miser for Food Vending Machines should be used.

2.5. The International Energy Code should be followed not only in the design of buildings, but also in their operation (Ashrae Standard 55).

2.6. The buildings and mechanical systems may be connected to the campus Energy Management System. This will allow greater control over operating schedules and temperature adjustments for fluctuating campus needs.

3. New Renovation and Construction

3.1. Executive Order 2006-001 requires all that all Executive Branch state agencies, including the Higher Education Department, adopt the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED™ rating system consistent with all applicable laws to achieve the following:

3.1.1. All new renovations and construction should be designed and built to minimize energy use.

3.1.2. All construction efforts should consider LEED criterion applicability and application where warranted and possible.

3.1.3. Year-round cooling needs should be met by utilizing the most energy efficient systems (“best available technology”).

3.1.4. All new construction should include utility metering when possible (electricity, natural gas, steam, and water).

4. Lighting

4.1 For manual light switches, turn of lights when leaving a room and be aware of occupancy sensors that do not require manual on and off.

4.2 Use natural light as much as possible.

4.3 If the room has a dimmable switch, adjust light to use less energy when possible.

5. Computers

5.1. In addition to the energy consumed by computers and accessories, computer equipment generates heat during normal operation which imposes additional cooling loads on building air conditioning systems. Cooling demand has increased on campus because of the proliferation of computers and the creation of computer labs and server rooms.

5.1.1 These issues can be partially solved by users and lab managers if these simple energy conservation measures are implemented:

5.2 Turn computers, monitors and printers on only as needed and turn off (shutdown) when not actively in use. Computer labs are to be set to “hibernate mode” when usage is sparse through CNM’s IT Office Active Directory Group Policy. All computers automatically sleep mode after 20 minutes of inactivity, and completely hibernate (shut-down) after 2 hours of inactivity. The RAM will still be powered during sleep mode, and so work should not be lost. Also, everything that is open will be saved to a special folder if the computer goes into hibernate mode. However, it is advised that users save all work if leaving their desk for any reason.  If an individual user adjusts this on a personal computer, it will automatically reset to Group Policy Standards.  Don’t leave equipment on continuously unless it is continuously in use. Users must Log-Out of their computers, even if it has gone into either sleep mode or hibernate, or the next user will not be able to log in.

5.2.2 Make sure all computers, monitors and laser printers have their energy management features enabled (e.g., hibernate or sleep mode). Enabling these features is generally very easy and quick.

5.2.3 Print using centralized printers and office equipment that is Energy Star certified and procured through the Purchasing Dept. Refrain from making paper copies and if required, always print on both sides of the page to conserve paper. Use the black and white setting on printers and computers unless absolutely necessary.

6. Purchasing

6.1 Energy-efficient products shall be purchased whenever possible. For examples, see the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star products list.

6.2 Recyclable and reusable products should also be purchased when feasible to reduce disposal costs.

Reference Materials