Passive and Active Systems

  1. Fully integrate passive heating and cooling systems into facility designs whenever practical for the local climate prior to the design of active mechanical systems.
  2. Provide optimized passive and active systems; design active mechanical systems to supplement thermal mass walls and floors.
  3. Develop renewable energy systems including geo-exchange (ground source heat pumps) when life cycle cost effective.
  4. Performance display screens, which report energy performance and utility savings, are encouraged; when provided locate these in building lobbies or common areas.
  5. Solar domestic hot water systems are required when life cycle cost effective for the climate.
  6. Integrate shading into building exteriors to reduce solar heat gain during hot seasons.

Design high performance and sustainable buildings with efficient mechanical, electrical, plumbing (MEP) and fire protection systems coordinated into the overall design. Balance life-cycle cost, energy efficiency and occupant comfort with budgets and operational requirements.

Follow UFC 3-410-01 for HVAC system design requirements and criteria; it also establishes system efficiency requirements, cost effectiveness criteria and indoor temperature/humidity and ventilations requirements. Ensure maximum flexibility of systems.

Design complete MEP systems including materials, fixtures and equipment to safeguard health and property. Ensure systems provide economy and reliability. Provide simple, functional designs and systems.

Provide adequate and efficient exterior lighting to promote good visibility. Reduce glare and over-illumination by balancing the light level with surface reflectivity.

Meter all utilities for new facilities and major renovations. Comply with UFGS Sections 26 27 13.10 30, 26 27 14.00 20, 33 12 33.00 30, and 33 51 13.00 30.


Following UFC 1-200-02, evaluate site and building components to determine whether passive and natural design strategies and features are cost effectively incorporated before the active and mechanical systems are designed. Passive thermal comfort methods are allowed and encouraged when shown to be effective at maintaining required interior conditions/requirements and achieving lower life cycle cost than other methods.

Use a collaborative, integrated planning and design team, composed of user, government support staff and appropriate professionals to optimize energy performance and energy efficiency. Protect and conserve water for both indoor water and outdoor water following reduction strategies in UFC 1-200-02. The use of potable water for landscape irrigation is discouraged.

Implement renewable energy generation projects where life cycle cost effective and when there are no adverse effects on base wide electrical systems.

MEP systems should enhance indoor environmental quality and must meet thermal, humidity and ventilation requirements of UFC 3-410-01. Material specifications should include consideration of environmentally preferable products, products with recycled content, as well as low-emitting and biologically-based products.


Following DoD and AF criteria analyze data related to documented risks and life-cycle cost effectively develop passive systems prior to the design of active mechanical systems when addressing increased heating or cooling requirements. Consider semi-passive or renewable energy systems, such as ground-source heat pump, to reduce energy use following a life-cycle cost analysis.

Address drought, desertification and ecosystem shifts with acceptable dust mitigation strategies for exterior and interior systems and equipment.

Appraise energy generation infrastructure, facilities, systems, and equipment and consider renewable energy technologies and energy savings performance contracts following AF guidance when upgrading, standardizing or replacing these. Eliminate single points of failure to critical assets or mission-critical facilities, such as by providing dual feed.

UFC 1-200-01 General Building Requirements

UFC 1-200-02 High Performance and Sustainable Building Requirements

UFC 3-400-02 Design: Engineering Weather Data

USAF/DOE Design Guide for Military Family Housing - Energy Efficient Revitalization and New Construction

UFC 3-410-01 Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning Systems

UFC 3-410-02 Direct Digital Control for HVAC and Other Building Control Systems

UFC 3-410-04 Industrial Ventilation

UFC 3-420-01 Plumbing Systems

UFC 3-440-01 Facility-Scale Renewable Energy Systems

AFI 32-1067 Water and Fuel Systems

UFC 3-501-01 Electrical Engineering

AFI 32-1062 Electrical Power Plants and Generators

AFI 32-1064 Electrical Safe Practices

Fire Protection
UFC 3-600-01 Fire Protection Engineering for Facilities

ETL 01-18 Fire Protection Engineering Criteria - Electronic Equipment Installations

ETL 98-8 Fire Protection Engineering Criteria - Existing Aircraft Facilities

ETL 95-1 Halon 1301 Management Planning Guidance

ETL 94-6 Fire Protection Engineering Criteria and Technical Guidance - Removal of Halogenated Agent Fire Suppression Systems

UFC 3-580-01 Telecommunications Interior Infrastructure Planning and Design