BY MAX SPEHLMANN
Students said goodbye to opening their windows wide this semester after window stops were installed over the summer.
Facilities Management and Residence Life sent out an email on August 13th stating that window stops had been installed in Nollen, Cleveland Young, Deerpath, and Moore Hall.
The email explained that air conditioning systems rely on a closed system to function properly. Open windows allow “additional humidity into the building… [that]condenses on cold surfaces…” combines with organic matter in the air, and finally becomes food for mold.
“Unfortunately, in order to ensure that the above situation does not occur, Facilities Management has installed window stops in the noted buildings,… [which]physically prevent the window from being opened more than 2 [inches].”
The Office of Residential Life has tried for several years to inform students that windows need to be closed while air conditioning units are operating.
“At least once a semester for the past three years, including summer sessions, we’ve sent emails to the residents of air conditioned buildings requesting that they leave their windows closed while the air conditioning is running,” said Stacey Oliver, the Associate Director of the Office of Residential Life.
“The windows being opened allowed warm air in, which was creating condensation with the AC units and the moisture brought about rust, mildew, leaks, etc. that were an ongoing concern for residents.”
After spending a lot of time and energy cleaning vents, Facilities Management decided that enough was enough, and so after verifying that there were no code violations, Facilities Management drilled stops into the windows of dorm rooms.
Andrew Pollom, the Director of the Office of Residential Life has fielded complaints from students in Cleveland Young International House regarding the window stops.
Cleveland Young Hall resident, Nouha Ezouri ‘19, reported symptoms of “red, itching eyes, pain in the ears, difficulty breathing, and sneezing” which she attributed to the perpetually closed windows and lack of fresh air.
“All of these things are governed by [building]codes… air has to be recirculated a certain amount of times per hour… and we followed that,” said David Siebert, the Director of Facilities Management.
Having windows open was an issue of efficiency. Fresh air is drawn into the buildings from the AC units, which is blown over a chilled water pipe to cool the building.The more windows open, the more energy was required to keep the buildings at a stable temperature, especially on hot, humid days according to Siebert.
“We’re considered not responsible enough to be able to handle our windows,” said Ezouri. “It’s ridiculous, I think.”
Max Spehlmann can be reached at Spehlmannm@lakeforest.edu