This was a large debate as Vermont has weather that may only require AC units a few times a year, but then some summers are simply too humid for endless days. We researched a number of options from removable units, to part time systems, to nothing at all. In the end, the desire to provide our guests with a more customized environment and preserving the historic nature of the building proved to be the largest issues.
We decided to go with a internal full air conditioning system that also provides heating capabilities. The second part is important as it will allow us to shorten our fuel burning season by using the internal units for the shoulder periods - where just a bit of heat at night might be required. We also chose units that provide some nice
convenience features which are also more energy efficient. For example, we can keep the units off, and when we know there is a check-in or guest arrival coming, we can use a cooling burst feature that will run the unit for a very short period at maximum power to cool the room quickly before shutting itself down. We also chose to use a
number of smaller condenser units to effectively "zone" the house -- meaning when one in-room unit comes on only the attached condensing unit comes on instead of one very large condenser unit needing to power-up to run all the in-room units. This provides additional energy savings and efficiency.
In addition, we were able to work with a great contractor -- R.E. Hinkley Co., Inc out of New Hampshire -- to devise a way to run all the required pipes to the basement and then out of the basement to the condensing units--in effect showing no plumbing or pipes on the exterior of the building--this was a huge plus for us.
Here's a link to the indoor unit heads and outdoor condensers.
This system will provide total climate control for each room, offset our need for oil, and add to the total comfort we are seeking to provide each guest at the Snapdragon Inn.