In contrast to last year's history of burst, frozen pipes and flooded living rooms, which obliged the University to pay almost $100,000 for repairs, this year's more moderate heat reduction policy over winter break apparently resulted in no damage to the Houses.
The heat reduction policy is intended to save energy and the rising oil costs. Last year, rooms were supposed to be kept above 40 degrees Farenheit but a sudden temperature drop caused water to freeze in some pipes, which subsequently burst pipes in Dunster, Eliot, Quincy and Mather Houses.
One student returned to her room in Dunster House last year to find her bed in the shower and her furniture in the hall and repairmen had made a hole in the wall to find a leak. Another student returned to Quincy House to find several thousand dollars worth of camera equipment destroyed.
Francis A. Lawton, assistant dean for resources, planning and for facilities, said yesterday as a result of the flooding last year the College decided not to observe such conservation this year. House temperatures were set between 55 and 60 degrees.
Several students who remained at Harvard last Christmas said yesterday the dorms were "freezing." This year, however, very few students voiced complaints.
Many undergraduates who remained in the dorms over vacation said yesterday they noticed no drop in temperature.
Thomas J. Curley '78 said yesterday his room in Winthrop House seemed warmer over the vacation than during the school year.
Thomas J. Pendergast Jr. '78, who spent part of the vacation in his room in Adams House, said yesterday. "In fact, there was no discernable difference in temperature over the vacation from during the term."
Lawton said yesterday the College does not have a sophisticated mechanism for monitoring the temperature in the various Houses but added that he has been guaranteed the reduction had been made.
One student suggested that although the heat cut may have been in effect, it was not extreme enough to be noticable to students who generally keep their doors and windows shut. House temperatures are not supposed to go above 70 degrees during the school year.
Too Early to Tell
Lawton said it is still too early to tell whether the College has saved money on oil costs yet.
Although there are no damages to pay this year the price of oil has jumped from last winter's 43.4 cents per gallon to 45.9 cents per gallon this winter. The weather has also been colder this winter.
Coldness for a certain amount of time is based on degree days, which is computed by averaging the high and low temperatures for a day and subtracting it from 65, the point at which engineers believe people turn their heating systems on.
For example, if the average temperature for a particular day is 50 degrees, there are 15 degree days included in that day.
The Boston Globe reported Friday there has been a 35 per cent jump in degree days over last winter