The iced mochas in Starbucks won’t be so iced for the next month. The air conditioning in the campus Starbucks, which stopped working due to old age before the fall semester, won’t be fully functional until a new unit gets installed in October.
The current AC unit is working at limited capacity; though it is not enough to keep the popular study spot cool enough during recent warm temperatures.
“I usually do my homework in there,” said first-year accounting major Laura Burnham. “But on really hot days, I have to leave because it makes me sleepy, and it’s hard to concentrate.”
In order to replace the old unit, the air conditioning must be kept offline while the new unit is installed. Amanda Doenges, director of engineering and administration, said patrons and employees of Starbucks are being kept in mind.
“If we would have worked to replace the unit immediately, we would have had no cooling in Starbucks for the first few weeks of school,” Doenges said. “To have the least overall impact to users, it was decided to leave the limited capacity unit in operation until the weather starts to cool down.”
Until then, students are taking their studies elsewhere due to uncomfortable temperatures.
“I haven’t gone as often because it’s so hot in there, and I know my friends haven’t been going in as much to study,” said junior biology major Elaina Vohra. “Even when just going in to get a drink, it’s so hot it’s ridiculous.”
Even those just stopping by for a quick drink are suffering. On especially busy mornings, the line can stretch past the entrance to the bookstore, which forces Starbucks patrons to wait in the warm building for extended periods of time.
“It was so hot that my ice started melting before I left the building,” said first-year pharmacy major Elizabeth Jira.
Students who work part-time at Starbucks now find themselves working shifts with little to no relief from the heat.
“It’s extremely sweaty and extremely hot,” said Emerson Wendling, a first-year pharmacy major and Starbucks employee. “It feels 10 times worse because it’s always busy, and you’re always moving around doing things.”
Come October when the new AC unit is installed, Doenges said it will be more efficient and environmentally friendly than the current unit.
“The new unit contains a refrigerant that will have better properties for protecting our ozone,” Doenges said. “When removing the old unit, we will work with the contractors to ensure the old refrigerant is captured such that it is not released to the atmosphere. This is part of our overall efforts to improve sustainability and energy efficiency across campus.”
Butler’s Sustainability and Climate Action Plan aims for the school to be carbon neutral by 2050.
For now, the old unit will remain until the weather gets cool enough to install a new one.