endure the heat

To cope with the hot days, Leigh and her partner leave all the windows open and use fans. If it’s very hot, they run a small air conditioning unit in energy-saving mode, which allows him to keep his refrigerator plugged in. But it’s not powerful enough to cool his entire apartment.

“Basically, if it’s 29 degrees outside, it’ll suck a lot of the moisture out of [the living room]which helps, but it will still be 28 or 29 degrees here on the thermometer,” she said.

“We really end up like a campfire, huddled around the air conditioner.”

Leigh said her landlord only updated the electrical systems in apartments in the building as they emptied out. She pays $1,560 a month; a renovated unit of the same size costs at least $900 more.

She says long-term tenants like her who still have affordable rents must be sweltering in the heat.

“I know the city is trying to make new 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 demolished, but want those buildings renovated, which is very doable.”

Even just painting the roof white, she said, could help shield her apartment from some of the heat.