Why Paris Olympics Ban Air Conditioning: A Heatwave of Controversy

The upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics are just around the corner, with the Games set to begin next month on 26 July. Thousands of athletes from all over the world will gather at the Olympic Village. This year, the organisers are promoting the event as the most sustainable version yet, with no air conditioning in the dormitories.

However, it seems that the Olympic Village will end up using more energy than expected, as some teams, including Team USA, will be bringing in portable air-conditioning units, deviating from the organisers’ original plans for an environmentally friendly Games.

Why isn’t there air conditioning at the Olympic Village? How will the athletes stay cool? And which countries are bringing their own cooling systems? We answer these questions and more.

Why no ACs at the Olympic Village?

In an effort to host the “greenest ever Games,” organisers have decided not to install air conditioning at the Olympic Village to reduce carbon emissions. Instead, the complex has been equipped with a geothermal cooling system that will maintain cooler temperatures for the athletes.

Architects have carefully designed the buildings of the Olympic Village to maximize natural cooling mechanisms such as cross ventilation, insulation, green roofs, and shading techniques. A geothermal system will pump cool water through the buildings, ensuring a comfortable environment for the residents.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo emphasized the importance of sustainable construction practices in avoiding the need for air conditioning, especially in high temperatures.

Too hot to handle?

Concerns have been raised about the lack of air conditioning in the Village, particularly due to the expected high temperatures during the Games. Some countries, including the US, have decided to bring their own air conditioning units to ensure the comfort of their athletes.

Other countries, such as Canada, Great Britain, Italy, Germany, Greece, Denmark, and Australia, are also taking measures to provide cooling systems for their athletes. However, budget constraints prevent some countries from following suit.

Paris 2024’s environmental excellence director expressed disappointment at the need for additional cooling systems, highlighting the challenges of balancing sustainability with athlete comfort.

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