Should Everyone Have Air Conditioning?

As the state gets hotter, one former Midland resident thinks air conditioning should be required by the city building code.
Wed November 2, 2011 12:43 pm
Rob Ireton | Flickr

It was so hot in Texas this past summer ( “How hot was it?” ) that one Midland native thinks it’s time that air conditioning be treated as a requirement rather than a privilege.

Kathleen Thurber of the  Midland Reporter-Telegram writes of Jonathan Brackens’ effort to cool off his former neighbors (which actually dates back to March) by making air conditioning part of the city building code. Central air conditioning, no less.

“Air conditioning not being mandated is a large problem,” Brackens said, explaining that he and his grandmother have both lived in poorly air conditioned rental homes.

Brackens cites statistics that don’t necessarily make the case for governmental mandate—particularly in a state where people are still fighting for the right to keep their incandescent light bulbs. But his research certainly shows how much we love our air conditioning:

Pointing to a 2009 report from the Pew Research Center, Brackens said surveys show 70.8 percent of Americans see air conditioning as a necessity. When the data are narrowed to Texas, the percentage jumps to 92.4 percent, and when refined to just those with “432” area codes, it is 100 percent.

Midland building official Steven Thorpe said the city will consider the proposal, but that there’s no new construction without AC in Midland these days anyway. (Changes to the building code would not be retroactive).

And no matter what the city makes its contractors or landlords do, you still have to pay your own electric bill.

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