To cope on hot days, Leigh and her partner leave all the windows open and use fans. If it gets really hot, they run a small air conditioning unit on energy saver mode, which allows her to keep her fridge plugged in. But it isn’t powerful enough to cool her entire apartment.
“Basically, if it’s 29 degrees outside, it will suck a lot of the humidity out of [the living room], which helps, but it will still be 28 or 29 degrees in here on the thermometer,” she said.
“We really end up kind of like a campfire, huddling around the air conditioner.”
Leigh said her landlord has only updated the electrical systems in the building’s apartments as they become empty. She pays $1,560 monthly; a renovated unit of the same size costs at least $900 more.
She says longstanding tenants like her who still have affordable rents are left to swelter in the heat.
“I know the city is trying to move towards making newer buildings more efficient and carbon neutral, which is great,” Leigh said.
“But there are so many people in existing buildings who don’t want their buildings being torn down, but want these buildings retrofitted, which is very doable.”
Even just painting the roof white, she said, might help shield her apartment from some of the heat.