An aerial view of the Olympic Village in Paris, Source: Paris 2024/ Facebook

2024 Olympic Games get less green as 2,500 air conditioners ordered

2024 Olympic Games get less green as 2,500 air conditioners ordered

The plan was to have an Olympic Village with ‘zero air conditioning’ but many delegations placed the comfort of the athletes as a priority

In February 2023, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced that the Olympic Village would not have any air conditioners in an ambitious bid to affirm the commitment of the French capital to organize the most sustainable Olympics in modern history. But then reality intervened with summer temperatures reminding athletes that what may seem viable as an idea in February may not fly through in July and August.

The result of this was that many delegations announced that they planned to bring their own mobile air conditioners in order to ensure the comfort and well-being of their athletes during the Games. This created a sense of potential embarrassment for the organizers, who, seeing that their intended rule would not be adhered to, have now apparently caved to pressure.

Yesterday, the deputy director of the Olympic Village, Augustin Tran Van Chau, confirmed that air conditioners will actually be installed in the buildings hosting the athletes.  The Olympic Village announced that it had provided a catalogue for delegations to purchase air conditioners. Nearly 2,500 units have already been ordered from the Games organizing committee.

Green hypocrisy or misunderstanding?

The ‘zero air conditioning’ fiasco, however, reflects poorly not only on the Parisian hosts but also on these delegations that couldn’t conceive the idea of adjusting to a reality where AC is not present.

What’s stunning is that the delegations that complained about this and threatened to bring their own AC units were all from Western countries, such as Canada, Italy, the United States, Great Britain, Denmark, Australia, Germany and Greece, where the idea goes that societies are in tune with the sustainable goals espoused by the Olympic Games organizers.

For Danyel Dubreuil, from the Cler energy transition network, cited by Batiactu, this decision by certain delegations reflects "excessive caution" and a lack of knowledge and confidence in the thermal regulations in force.

That might then reveal that the Parisian organizers have done a bad job at communicating the benefits of the design of the buildings, which is supposed to ensure that no air conditioning would be needed in summer to feel comfortable.

The result now is that the Games will be less green than they were intended as the additional air conditioners could negatively impact energy demand during the summer.



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