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B.C. to mandate AC in new homes

August 23, 2023

Image Credit: Home Depot

A recent modification to the British Columbia building code will mandate that at least one room in a new home be equipped with an air cooling system.
“At the outside summer design temperature, required cooling facilities shall be capable of maintaining an indoor air temperature of not more than 26°C in at least one living space in each dwelling unit,” the amendment reads.
While an air conditioning unit will likely be the preferred method of cooling, the code will allow for passive design measures that are proven to meet the requirement.
The code change was driven by the 2021 “heat dome” in B.C.
Over six days during the heat wave—which saw record temperatures reaching over 40 °C—619 heat-related deaths were recorded in the province. 
The British Columbia Coroners Service struck a review panel, which reported that 91 per cent of these deaths occurred in various types of housing (39 per cent in multi-unit buildings; 34 per cent in detached buildings; 10 per cent in social housing, single room occupancy, or supportive housing; and 7 per cent in senior or long-term care homes). Most occurred in homes without adequate cooling such as air conditioners or fans. 
The code change should prove a boon to air conditioning suppliers and contractors, since it applies to both rental and home ownership properties in a province where home air conditioning has been rare.


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