Chicago condominium and community associations should be aware of the new “Cooling Ordinance” approved by the City Council on June 22, 2022. The City Council adopted the Cooling Ordinance (“Ordinance”) following the death of three residents of a senior facility during Chicago’s heatwave in May 2022. The Ordinance requires residential buildings (including condominiums) over 80 feet tall or with more than 100 dwelling units to provide a “cooling space” for residents for those occasions when the heat index exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Note, however, the Ordinance does not apply to any building if each resident has their own in-unit cooling system that allow the Units to turn on A/C as necessary.
The Ordinance specifically requires that the cooling space provide “cooling and dehumidification equipment capable of maintaining a room temperature of 75°F (24°C) and 50 percent relative humidity” (i.e., air conditioning) when the outdoor temperature is 92°F (33°C) and the mean coincident wet bulb temperature is 74°F (23°C).” There is no specified size of the cooling space; so long as residents are able to cool off in the area (without the space exceeding Chicago Fire Code occupancy capacity, of course).
Buildings that use a two-pipe system need to start preparing now for the new ordinance. Considering the difficulties during the season’s transition period with temperatures varying greatly from day to day, it would be best for these buildings to install a separate air conditioning system for the cooling space. This will help these buildings make sure they are following the regulations of the Cooling Ordinance and avoid any potential complications with residents’ safety in extreme temperatures.
Temporary equipment that follows the Cooling Ordinance must be put in place by July 1, 2022, and permanent equipment is required by May 1, 2024. Therefore, if your association falls under the ordinance, it must start implementing the temporary cooling space now, and prepare to make it permanent. With two-pipe system buildings, the board should consider installing a separate air condition system within a designated “cooling space” to ensure that the space follows the ordinance requirements.
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