A $50,000 electric bill? The cost of cooling L.A.’s biggest houses in a heat wave? $50,000? $10,000? That’s just the beginning of the story of how the most glamorous buildings in the world can cost far more than their worth and how that money can be recycled into something that’s more lasting and useful. And this might all just be a fairy tale
As I walked the hallway that takes you from my apartment to the living room, a sense of dread fell over me. The house I’m in now has an old-fashioned black and white checkered floor. An old-fashioned black and white checkered floor is a rare thing, and I’m not the only one who knows that.
The thing is, my apartment floor is covered with a thick layer of dust and grime that you’d need a magnifying glass to see, let alone clean. The last time I cleaned, the floor looked like this:
This isn’t that unusual. I live on the top floor of a building, and in every other condo or apartment in Southern California, the building staff cleans the floors between tenants every month. The job is simple and straightforward—a chore that’s usually completed by 6 or 7 in the evening. When someone who lives upstairs drops his or her garbage, the staff collects it, vacuum it, and then sweeps away all the dirt and grime with dust rags.
In my building, the service is as routine as the cleaning—even though I have a cleaning lady every week and the apartment is spotless. I just think the job is too boring. So before each apartment cleaning, we all come to the service desk to sign out. And then we return to our own units and clean as if nothing had happened.
This cleaning routine feels like it’s been going on since I moved here, even though it’s been five years since my last apartment