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Harvard to Reduce Heat in Dormitories

Rising Oil Costs Force Strict Policy

By Veronica Rosales

As a result of skyrocketing oil prices brought on by the Persian Gulf crisis, Harvard plans to cut back on the amount of heat supplied to student rooms this winter, University officials said yesterday.

Higher energy costs will force Harvard to keep strictly to its energy conservation and efficiency guidelines, said Michael N. Lichten, director of physical operations for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS).

Although the University is not changing its guidelines on heat for student rooms, strict enforcement of the current policy will result in lower temperatures in most undergraduate dorms, Lichten said. Starting in November, the University will fix temperatures at 68 degrees in the daytime and 64 degrees at night, he said.

"We are definately dropping temperatures now," Lichten said.

Several construction projects and academic building renovations have also been delayed as a result of the price increases, said Lichten.

Although Harvard has been cutting costs as a result of the increased fuel prices, University officials said yesterday that the effect on the FAS budget as yet to be determined.

But Thomas E. Vautin, director of facilities management, said that electricity costs have already jumped an unforeseen 30 percent. Harvard currently allocates about $22 million of its more than $300 million annual budget on energy, Vautin said.

"Everyone's budget is strained because of [the cost increases]," Vautin said. "I think it's very important to understand that we are not looking at a fuel shortage but at the market's fears of the Middle East crisis."

The University is also working with the Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) on a plan urging students to conserve energy in their dorms, Lichten said. Details of the plan will be worked out a meeting today, said Samuel A. Newell '92 of PBHA's Environmental Action Committee.

"Most rooms are overheated," Newell said. "But some are colder."

Although he said students should not feel any undue discomfort because of the change in heating policy, Lichten said that it may be "advisable to have sweaters and sweatshirts handy at night."

"It is a good thing that Harvard will look into this to reduce inefficiency," said Daniel H. Tabak '92, the chair of the Undergraduate Council's residential committee. "I don't know if that will mean that all the rooms will become too cold.

"Hopefully it will mean that by lowering the temperatures in the rooms that are overheated, Harvard will save enough energy," Tabak said.

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