Paris mayor refuses to allow air conditioning in Olympics village

Paris: The mayor of Paris is refusing to install air conditioning for athletes competing in the 2024 Olympics, insisting it will threaten her city’s climate targets.

Over the last few months, concerns have been growing among some federations and athletes over the lack of air-conditioned apartments at the Athletes’ Village in the Paris suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis, where 14,500 athletes and staff will be housed while taking part in the Summer Olympics.

French Elite acrobatic team Patrouille de France flyes over the Eiffel Tower during the Olympic Games handover from Tokyo to Paris in 2021.Credit:Getty

The new buildings were designed to be cooled by geothermal energy as part of Anne Hidalgo’s vision to host a carbon-neutral Games.

Olympic organisers have tabled proposals which would allow individual delegations to install air conditioning systems in the athlete’s village at their own cost.

Hidalgo responded on Thursday, refusing to back down, telling Le Parisien daily newspaper that installing additional cooling systems was “inconsistent” with the host city’s promise to deliver a sustainable and “exemplary” event.

“I can guarantee you that we will not change course and that there will be no changes to the program,” she said.

Climate conscious: Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, centre, leads her team on the opening of an express cycle path in 2020.Credit:Getty Images

Solideo, the group that oversees the construction and delivery of Olympic and Paralympic facilities, says that the buildings have been designed to harness the power of geothermal energy to cool the interior, while the site’s location near the River Seine benefits from the cooling effects of the river.

The designs are expected to reduce carbon emissions by 45 per cent in the athletes’ village compared to traditional air-conditioned buildings.

During peak heat waves of 39C, interior temperatures can be maintained at 28C. But the French delegation estimates that the maximum, indoor temperature threshold for athletes is 26C, beyond which optimum conditions begin to deteriorate and impact their performance.

Over the last few years, Paris has experienced several scorching summers, some of which broke records. Between July 26 and Aug 11 last year – a period that coincides with the dates for the 2024 Games – the maximum temperature reached 40C. Similar temperatures were observed during the same period in 2020 and 2018.

The Telegraph, London

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