With temperatures rising worldwide, air conditioning to cool buildings is becoming more of a necessity than a luxury.
The power used to run the machines likely comes from dirty energy sources, which produce planet-warming pollution that results in a warmer climate — necessitating increased use of air conditioning.
It’s an unfortunate and slightly ironic cycle, but Paris has devised a unique solution to cool the city’s buildings without needing so much energy.
The Seine is the second-longest river that runs entirely through France, second to the Loire, and its water is part of the solution to prevent the use of high-powered AC units.
Water from the Seine is drawn into underground cooling stations, with large vats storing the water that acts similarly to a refrigerator.
This chills more water, which is then sent through a pipe network of around 50 miles (80 kilometers) that reaches a number of public buildings and offices throughout the city and can be used for air conditioning.
The heat transfers from buildings to the water pump network, which then sends water back to the underground stations to cool once more.
According to Reuters, it is Europe’s largest cooling network, and it’s powered by 100% renewable energy.
“One step closer to make planet Earth safer,” one Instagram user commented on the technology.
“That is inseine,” said another, while someone else added, “Well played, Paris — innovative and sustainable!”
Now, the city is looking to triple the network by 2042, resulting in about 155 miles (250 kilometers) of pipes to cool hospitals, daycare centers, and retirement homes.
With Paris witnessing a temperature high of 109.4 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius) in July 2022, per Reuters, an efficient, planet-friendly cooling system is becoming more vital for people in the city to stay comfortable and avoid the threat of heat-related illnesses.
A similar system is being developed in Seville, Spain, with the $5-million-plus CartujaQanat cooling network under construction but not yet complete.
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