Air Conditioning UNBF Campus Policy

September 2012

Preamble

The University of New Brunswick values its people and wishes to provide an appropriate working and learning environment for students, faculty and staff. We all recognize that there are some days during the year when inside temperatures rise to uncomfortable levels, and that number varies from year to year, and that different people have differing tolerances with respect to heat and cold.

Few buildings on our campus have air conditioning throughout. Given the physical nature of our existing facilities, inequities will occur across campus. For example, indoor temperatures may vary widely from room to room within the same building, and power supplies in some buildings may not be adequate to accommodate individual air conditioning units in all or even some offices or laboratories of those buildings. Finally, it is important to manage the appearance of the University facilities and to ensure all reasonable costs and options are considered in a decision process to approve and install air conditioning units on campus.

Finding and maintaining a balance that accommodates these physical realities, concerns for the environment, and the need for people to work in a comfortable environment remains a challenge.

Working Conditions – Office, Shops, Laboratory and Classroom Settings

This University Air Conditioning Policy applies to all sectors of the University community on the Fredericton campus and permits the air conditioning of University space only under special circumstances. First and foremost, it is important that working conditions remain within acceptable levels from a health and safety perspective. In that regard, WorkSafeNB has been consulted to ensure that our policy is informed by workplace safety guidelines. In addition, relevant policies at other university and government employers in the region have also been surveyed in preparing this document.

Response to Occasional Occurrences of High Temperatures

Unusually high temperatures and humidity levels may combine on certain days from May through September to produce uncomfortable working conditions. Since individual room temperatures may vary widely within a given unit, Deans, Directors and Department Chairs must use their discretion to: (1) determine the point at which, due to high temperature and humidity conditions, continuous work in a given area is no longer advisable; and (2) assess and choose the most appropriate option available. Such options may include longer breaks, cooling fans, temporary moves to cooler space, or closure of specific offices. In the event a general closure of a unit is considered, the Dean/Director or Department Chair /Manager must consult with his/her direct supervisor before acting (i.e., Dean/Director consult with VP; Chair/Manager with Dean/Director).

Decision Criteria for Installing or Replacing Air Conditioning

In general, the University does not air condition space and does not permit the ad hoc addition of portable air conditioning units to a room or rooms without prior approval, as outlined below. There are exceptional circumstances, however, which would justify the provision for air conditioning.

1. Consideration will be given to space that must have a controlled environment beyond the capabilities of mechanical or natural ventilation systems to ensure the proper or safe storage or use of scientific, research or hazardous equipment, materials or processes, or the proper use of other sensitive equipment, such as that used by IT Services. It must be demonstrated that other alternatives, including relocation of the equipment or process, have been considered and are not practical, possible or effective. The decision to install air conditioning will normally be based on supplier's information or, if not available then, written justification from the originating Dean or Director will be considered.

2. Consideration will be given to space that must have a controlled environment beyond the capabilities of mechanical or natural ventilation systems to correct oppressive working conditions where other solutions are not reasonable. It must be demonstrated that other alternatives including relocation of the student, faculty or staff and use of fans have been considered and are not practical, possible or effective. The decision to install air conditioning in any area will vary with the situation and conditions. Factors to be considered include sun exposure, windows and other building openings, presence of heat generating equipment, presence of mechanical and/or natural ventilation, consideration of alternative solutions, noise generated by air conditioning unit, and other factors applicable to the situation.

3. Consideration will be given to a request for air conditioning upon written confirmation from a licensed Physician that a medical condition will substantially improve by a controlled or partially controlled environment. While respecting patient-physician confidentially, sufficient detail must be provided to demonstrate a clear and substantial potential to improve work performance by providing an air conditioned space, and to identify the environmental factor needing correction (i.e., relative humidity, dry bulb temperature, other). It must be demonstrated that other alternatives including relocation of the student, faculty or staff have been considered and are not practical, possible or effective.

4. Consideration will be given to a request for air conditioning of a given space when more extensive general renovations of that space are under review. In assessing such requests, such factors as prevailing conditions, the ability of existing infrastructure to accommodate the upgrade, effects of the addition of air conditioning on internal & external facades of the building, impact on the overall renovation and operating budgets, and cost sharing opportunities will all be taken into account.

UNBF AIR CONDITIONING

Application Procedure

The following procedure defines the process for making an application for air conditioning on the UNB Fredericton Campus. This procedure applies to all sectors of the University community. Note that it does take time to process requests, investigate the situation, identify alternatives, make a decision, order and take delivery of the equipment, and install the equipment. Therefore it is important the originator realizes that a response to a request will take some time.

Approval is required prior to the commencement of work or purchasing of equipment, regardless of the source of funding.

1. All requests for air conditioning must be in writing through the Chair/Manager (if applicable) to the Dean /Director of the originating faculty /department. Each request must include, as a minimum, the following information:

  • Room number, building contact person and contact information for the proposed installation.

  • A detailed description of the problem including any supporting factual temperature, relative humidity or other data (if any) collected by the originating department. Facilities Management can assist upon request.

  • Supporting documentation and data as appropriate from suppliers, manufacturers, Dean, Director or Physician to support the request. (See Decision Criteria in Policy.)

  •  An indication of the size and type of air conditioning unit proposed, if known.

  • A funding plan covering the costs of acquiring, installing and operating the new unit.  (See "Costs" section below.)

  • Accompanying text demonstrating that other alternatives including relocation of the equipment or process or people have been considered and are not practical, possible or potentially effective. Where assistance is required to identify and evaluate alternatives, Facilities Management may assist.

2. If the Dean/Director supports the application in principle, he/she will forward the application to the Director of Facilities Management for processing. 

3. Facilities Management will review the request and provide information on the appropriate options and estimated costs and any other relevant recommendations or comments.  This information will be returned to the Dean/Director.

4. The Dean/Director will review the information received from Facilities Management in light of the priorities and available resources in the unit.  If the Dean/Director supports the request, he/she will forward this to the appropriate Vice President who will consider the request.

5. The Vice President will review the request and communicate his/her decision (approved or denied) to the Dean/Director and copy the Director of Facilities Management.

6. If the request has been approved, the Dean/Director will initiate a work request through Facilities Management Work Control Centre in the usual manner, referencing the estimate number provided in Step 3 above.

Alternative Types of Systems

It should be noted that upon receipt of application for an air conditioning system, Facilities Management will investigate alternative types of systems. A cost estimate(s) will be prepared and returned to the originating department. Alternatives will consider life cycle costs, initial costs (such as design, procurement and installation), cost effectiveness, maintenance costs, degree of environmental control required, comfort, aesthetics, noise and other factors as may be applicable. The least expensive alternative may not necessarily be the recommended solution supported by the University.

Costs

All installation costs associated with any approved air conditioning system are to be paid by the originating department, through funding streams as appropriate. All ongoing maintenance costs associated with any window or portable-type air conditioning system are to be paid by the originating department or faculty. The ongoing operating costs will be paid through appropriate utilities budget(s).  However, in the event of changes to existing budget allocation models and/or in circumstances where there will be unusually high utilities consumption, the originating Unit may have to support the operating costs.