Georgetown University recently renovated its LXR residential community with new windows and HVAC units, aiming to reduce emissions from air conditioning units.
The project included the installation of windows and HVAC units over the summer within most of the rooms in LXR. The building’s new HVAC system can regulate the temperature with motion sensors, but it can still be manually activated.
The buildings now housing LXR — once three separate halls, Loyola, Xavier and Ryder Halls — were built in 1898 and held Georgetown University Hospital between 1898 and 1947, until the university constructed hospital buildings on Reservoir Road. Although the university renovated the interiors of LXR rooms in 2020, it did not update the old HVAC systems.
Bella Burns (CAS ’26), a resident of LXR, said she appreciates the new HVAC unit in her room for its effectiveness and noise.
“I am so thankful for it. Although it is at times confusing to control, it is very effective at keeping the room chilled. My roommate and I also enjoy the white noise it gives off, which I know not everyone does,” Burns wrote to The Hoya. “We have not had any issues with it so far.”
Lily Buckner (CAS ’26) also said the window updates in her room were successful, but the new HVAC system has presented some user difficulties.
“In my room, personally, the windows work just fine, but we’re having a difficult time figuring out how to work our AC,” Buckner told The Hoya. “Because we were in New South last year, it was easy to just turn the knob to control the temperature and how much the AC was blasting out, but this time, the controls are not super clear at all. It’s kind of just on, and we’re leaving it like that. But we can’t really control the temperature.”
Clara Evans (SFS ’26) said the motion sensors initially kept her room at a high temperature due to its vacancy, but she is no longer facing any issues.
“When I arrived on campus this year, the room was unreasonably hot, but after about two days of setting the new HVAC to its lowest setting, the room became a crisp cool temperature that is very comfortable,” Evans wrote to The Hoya.
According to an email from Bill Huff, executive director of Residential Operations and Business Development, to residents, the motion sensors will contribute to sustainability efforts on campus.
The U.S. Department of Energy found that heating and cooling account for around half of an average home’s energy consumption, so innovations like motion sensors in HVAC systems can help to improve residential energy efficiency.
The HVAC update in LXR follows a university-wide initiative to improve the HVAC system following the COVID-19 pandemic. When Georgetown’s campus reopened, Facilities Management worked to update the HVAC system to combat the spread of viruses and committed to ongoing maintenance and recurring quality control checks of the HVAC system.
There remains some unfinished work in LXR common areas, which contractors will complete over the next couple weeks.
Buckner said she has seen some of the renovation work, although it does not interrupt her day-to-day life.
“It might be affecting other students who live closer to where the renovations are happening, but I think they got a lot done over the summer,” Buckner told The Hoya. “In the basement of LXR, there’s this really big community room, but it’s closed off to students right now because they’re doing work in there, too.”
Evans said she is also mostly unaffected by the ongoing renovation work, which she has noticed in the entry of LXR.
“I’ve noticed renovation work taking place in the entry space from the courtyard entrance. People are working there most hours of the day; it doesn’t affect my life much, though I do try to stay out of the way of the people who are working,” Evans wrote.
Installing the new HVAC units in several rooms has taken longer than expected, so contractors have installed temporary chillers. Residents were notified of this delay, and Facilities will replace the chillers in their rooms once parts arrive, according to Huff’s email.
Although her new HVAC is an improvement, Burns said she has encountered more difficulties with her windows than last year.
“My only thought of the windows in LXR — I did not know they were new — is why can I not open them more? I understand it is probably a safety issue, but last year my windows opened all the way, and I was higher up,” Burns wrote to The Hoya.
Overall, Evans said the updates to her room have improved her experience starting this new school year.
“The windows are convenient to open, offer a nice view of the courtyard, and are generally a clean, new addition to the room. It’s nice to have updated windows that are not a trick to open or an eyesore to look at,” Evans wrote.