Many buildings in British Columbia lack cooling due to the province’s milder climate expectations, explains Akua Schatz, a vice-president with the Canada Green Building Council, which focuses on sustainable building practices.
“So you end up with these, like, glass towers that are basically baking people, because they aren’t designed to both have open airflow and really take in the heat,” she said.
During last week’s historic heat wave, some B.C. residents resorted to buying AC units and new HVAC systems — but most were quickly sold out.
Bobby Watt, owner of the Vancouver-based Watt HVAC, said he’s seen nearly a 575 per cent increase in calls and website visits from people looking to install air conditioning since the temperatures began to climb.
On June 28, BC Hydro announced electricity demand in the province reached 8,516 megawatts. This shattered records by more than 600 megawatts, which equates to turning on 600,000 portable air conditioners.