Editor’s note: The following letter was originally sent before the village board finalized changes to apartment building heating requirements last week.
A recent newspaper article reports that Oak Park is considering reducing the minimum temperature required for apartment buildings to 68 degrees from 70 degrees [Could Oak Park make your apartment cooler? News, Oct. 20]. It is proposed that the reduction would save heating costs, conserve energy and reduce carbon emissions. I suggest reducing the heat required would be counterproductive. It would not save energy.
Even with the aid of humidifiers to address the dry-air problem, 68 degrees is too cool for many people, especially the elderly for whom the customary recommendation is 72 degrees. When apartment dwellers are too cold, they often do not reach for an additional sweater, but resort to the use of electric heaters, or they turn on the kitchen oven. The energy consumed by operating those appliances exceeds the amount saved by cutting back on the building’s heating system. Of course, there are the additional dangers of fire and health hazards, which could affect all the tenants as well as the building.
The present heating requirement is not unreasonable; it has evolved through years of experience and with the recommendations of health advocates, and I think it should not be changed.