The days of adjusting a thermostat at Town Hall will soon end after the Representative Town Meeting unanimously approved Tuesday a $500,000 appropriation for major upgrades to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at 110 Myrtle Ave.

Town Hall's current HVAC system was installed in 1978, and is still functional. But Public Works Director Steve Edwards recommended the town move ahead with improvements to take advantage of its eligibility for a $102,000 federal grant.

"It's not really broken, the system that we've got works," he said. "But with time -- it's 30 years old -- it's inefficient."

Edwards said the HVAC improvements would improve the "overall comfort zone" at Town Hall, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and cut fuel expenses.

While the RTM approved a $500,000 allocation, the HVAC will only cost about $450,000, according to an engineering estimate. The appropriation includes another $45,000 for contingency costs.

The federal grant for the project would come from funds allocated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the stimulus bill. Edwards said the town will also apply for additional funding from the state Clean Energy Fund, which could total approximately $40,000.

Through energy savings and reduced repair costs to the HVAC system, Edwards estimated the town could recuperate its upgrade expenditures in about five years.

HVAC renovations will include the replacement of Town Hall's cooling system and approximately 30 heating valves, as well as the installation of a new centralized control system that will set each room's temperature. Thermostats currently regulate room temperatures at Town Hall.

The HVAC improvement project, however, will not overhaul Town Hall's heating system.

"The heating system right now doesn't have any [funding] incentives," Edwards said. "It is an oil fuel system, and my tank is not at the point where it has to be replaced yet. I could probably get another four or five years out of that system."

Edwards added that the upgrades to the Town Hall HVAC system are scheduled to begin in October or November and will likely take about two months to complete.