The staff in the new UL are wrapped up very warmly. “Jumpers, coats, scarves or a heater. We need everything we can lay our hands on to help us work in these cold temperatures,’ say the staff.

The fact that it’s far too cold, just 18-19 degrees, has been a problem from the start. “Ever since the handover of the UL on 29 May, the climate control system hasn’t worked,” explains René Verwijmeren. Wearing a thick coat, he manages the staff in the UL. “We can turn up the temperature a couple of degrees, but it makes no real difference.”

“Typing with ice cold fingers is not an ideal work situation. So a heater next to my desk is a must,” says staff member Anne Gidding. “And sometimes I get up and walk around or warm myself up with a cup of soup.”

Low sun

Students working in the UL are warm, however. But like the UL staff, they are having problems with the defective sunblinds. “When the sun is low in the sky, you can’t see anything on your screen,” says Verwijmeren. He has reported both problems to those responsible. “But I haven’t had much response. We just get sent from pillar to post.”

According to Marcel Quanz, former project manager of the Renovation B building, however, a solution is in sight. “We’ve been using all our resources to get the climate control system working properly. But the installation is new and it’s a tricky issue.” The UL uses a thermal energy storage system. This means that the building is heated or cooled with energy from the ground. “But the source isn’t working properly,” says Quanz. “Cold water is being pumped up instead of hot water. So we are currently rewriting the installation programme.” The problem of the defective sunblinds is also being addressed.

Hats and gloves?

Quanz hopes that it will be warmer in the UL within a week. So staff will have to work in the cold for a bit longer. “As long as it gets better in the winter. Otherwise we’ll all be sitting here in our hats and wearing gloves to type,” jokes Domburg.

Good news: the temperature is now one degree higher! So it looks as if the staff will only be wearing their winter accessories outdoors from now on.