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Administrative Policies - Policy 0040

Agency of Administration

Policy Number: 0040

Title: Use of Air Conditioning in State Facilities and Leased Properties
Date of Issue: June 9, 2006
Supersedes: Initial Policy


The State of Vermont must implement an aggressive strategy to curtail and limit the use of air conditioning in state government buildings and rented facilities in order to comply with the goals, objectives, and requirements of:

  • The Comprehensive Environmental & Resource Management Program (CERMP) as developed by BGS (last updated on 1-5-05),
  • The intradepartmental Climate Neutral Working Group to decrease greenhouse gas emissions from state operations by the year 2012 by 25% from the 1990 baseline,
  • The State Agency Energy Plan as required by 3 V.S.A. § 2291, and
  • The 2001 Vermont Guidelines for Energy Efficient Commercial Construction (CEBES).


‘Air Conditioning’ (‘AC’) is defined as an electrically powered mechanical apparatus installed in a building for washing air and controlling its humidity and temperature.


  1. Existing Buildings and Buildings to be Renovated:
  • No new air conditioning apparatus will be added.
  • All existing ac systems and individual window units will be reviewed by BGS for need and optimum efficiency.
  • Where feasible, existing ‘window’ style ac units will be removed and replaced with alternative cooling devices – i.e. high quality energy efficient ceiling mounted and floor mounted fans.
  • Where ‘window’ units must remain, BGS will replace older inefficient units with ‘Energy Star’ rated units at the cost of the requesting department.
  • Strategies to minimize sources of ‘heat gain’ will be developed and implemented – i.e. window shades, blinds, films, lighting controls, alternative light fixtures, attic ventilation, reflective roofs, etc.
  • Strategies to utilize natural stack ventilation will be implemented where feasible.
  1. New Buildings:
  • New buildings will be designed so as not to require ‘air conditioning’ whenever possible through the use of integrated building design methodologies and energy modeling strategies that utilize controlled natural ventilation and will include such features as: solar orientation, thermally efficient building envelopes, high quality operable windows with advanced glazing technology, window shading, cross ventilation, open office plans, earth cooled stack ventilation, lighting controls, high efficiency/low heat light fixtures, reflective roofs, green roofs, and other emerging technologies
  1. ‘AC’ Temperature Set Point:
  • Buildings with approved air conditioning systems shall not operate in the ‘ac’ mode until the room temperature exceeds 76ºF or 75 % RH [relative humidity] or as agreed upon with the BGS mechanical engineer of record
  1. Exceptions to no ‘AC’ policy:

In general, only the following types of spaces will be allowed to be air-conditioned:

  • Computer rooms
  • Radio equipment rooms
  • Laboratories
  • Emergency operations rooms
  • Special situations


  1. BGS will develop a database of all existing buildings with ‘AC’
  2. BGS will review the installation and determine:
  • System need (allow to remain or remove) (if to be removed, ensure occupant comfort with alternate non-AC systems)
  • System quality (if it is to remain, is it efficient, or is it in need of an upgrade or a replacement?)
  1. The requesting department will pay for the purchase and installation of the new unit.


BGS will assemble a team of qualified Architects and Engineers to implement a ‘Comprehensive Design’ for the new facility. The team will develop the building’s cooling system design in conjunction with all required authorities, policies, directives, and adopted codes.


Requests are to be sent to maintenance through BGS maintenance work order format. This request will ensure that the building’s existing electrical loads will be evaluated and that the new load from the air conditioner will not cause power outages or other problems. The work order will be processed through engineering and approved by the commissioner on a case-by-case basis.

**See Explanation Letter

Department Approval:  R. Tasha Wallis, Commissioner
Department of Buildings and General Services

Agency Approval:  Michael K. Smith, Secretary of Administration
Agency of Administration