New City of Chicago Cooling Ordinance

As many of you are aware, the City of Chicago passed a new cooling ordinance on June 22, 2022, which was put into full effect as of July 2, 2022. The intent of this ordinance is to provide occupants of new and existing residential buildings over 80 feet tall and low-rise buildings with more than 100 dwelling units (including residential portions of mixed-use buildings) relief from unseasonably hot weather via at least one (1) common indoor gathering space when central cooling is not available. Housing for older persons is also addressed by the ordinance but subject to separate requirements.

For residential buildings within the identified groups that are not housing for older persons, the common gathering space (i.e., meeting rooms, party rooms, and exercise/fitness centers) must be served by cooling equipment independent of the building’s central cooling system and must be accessible to all building residents. The common gathering space must maintain cooling and dehumidification thresholds identified by the ordinance, be open to residents of the building, and operated to maintain “safe” indoor conditions when the heat index for the City of Chicago exceeds 80°F.

Key Dates

  • April 30, 2024: Temporary Cooling Equipment Exception Expiration
  • Temporary or portable cooling equipment for at least one (1) indoor common gathering space will be acceptable to meet the ordinance requirements until April 30, 2024.
  • May 1, 2024: Permanent Cooling Equipment Required
  • Permanent cooling equipment for at least one (1) indoor common gathering space must be in place and operational by May 1, 2024. Temporary or portable equipment will no longer be acceptable as of this date.


Considering the extended lead times for equipment and materials that have become commonplace within the construction industry, building owners and operators should be proactive in planning for their building’s compliance with the City of Chicago’s Cooling Ordinance. If a common gathering space without permanent, independent cooling and dehumidification is not currently in place for building residents, temporary cooling units should be procured to ensure compliance during unseasonably warm weather in the immediate term. Simultaneously, design efforts should commence for a permanent solution to be operational by May 1, 2024.

Please contact Elara’s Commercial / Multifamily Practice Leader, Matt Swanson, at to learn more about the City of Chicago Cooling Ordinance, how it applies to your specific building, and to obtain assistance in preparing your building for compliance.