DC council member asks city to reevaluate air conditioning codes

D.C. Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto has authored a letter to the Construction Codes Coordinating Board asking it to reevaluate the timeframe residential buildings are required to turn on air conditioning in cases where owners control the central air.

Currently, the D.C. code requires that in buildings where air conditioning is offered, it must be working and available between May 15 and September 15. The Department of Buildings last reviewed the code in 2017 and adopted it in 2020, but no changes were made to the air conditioning section of the code from prior years, a spokesperson for the department told FOX 5 in an email. 

When the District saw 80-degree temperatures in early April, there was an onslaught of complaints and comments from people who couldn't control their air conditioners inside their D.C. apartments. 

"This year, the temperatures have been a lot higher. It's been a lot hotter, we've had a lot of days where the interior of my apartment is like 80-84 degrees," said Sabina Vadnais, who lives in a rent-controlled building in Adams Morgan. 


Apartment dwellers in DC want air conditioning mandates to change

Some D.C. residents have no control over air conditioning. A new petition gaining traction calls on the city to change its AC mandates.

"I've been avoiding looking at the forecast because I just almost don't want to know," said Tuly Stern, who is in the same situation. 

Stern started an online petition earlier in April imploring the D.C. government to rethink the building code laws. 

Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto 

"This board needs to review to see what the temperatures have been over the last several years and consider making an update to those timelines," Councilmember Pinto said. 

Pinto said she heard multiple complaints from people in her ward who are having a hard time handling the heat indoors. 

"We have a warming climate and that impacts our residents every day and, in their units, and we need to be responsive to those needs," Pinto explained.

Pinto says she doesn't want the council to select an arbitrary date. Instead, she believes the board should take an expert look at temperatures over the last several years and select a new date that makes the most sense.

The board's next meeting is in May. Pinto is hoping this issue can be at the forefront of its agenda.