When it’s initial cost vs. operating costs of any mechanical system replacement or overhaul, there’s almost always a trade-off. For large apartment buildings, whether heating and cooling costs are included in the rent or billed separately, it will ultimately be on the tenant’s dime.
Low operating costs are important, but that usually conflicts with the owner’s main goal: limiting initial cost. In the interest of keeping units occupied and renter turnover low, comfort and controllability needn’t be ignored. But you can’t have the best of all worlds. Or can you?