Paris aims to keep Olympians cool without air conditioners

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. sweltering / ˈswɛl tər ɪŋ / (adj.) – excessively hot and uncomfortable

    Let’s go swimming to beat this sweltering heat.

  2. keep (something/someone) in check / kip ɪn tʃɛk / (idiom) – to put something or someone under control

    The government required people to wear a mask to keep the virus in check.

  3. to date / tʊ deɪt / (idiom) – up until the present time

    Taipei 101 is still the tallest building in Taiwan to date.

  4. eco-friendly / ˈiː koʊˌfrend li / (adj.) – beneficial and not bad for the environment

    We should start using eco-friendly products to save the environment.

  5. simulated / ˈsɪm yəˌleɪ tɪd / (adj.) – created or designed to look similar or have the features of something else

    This indoor zoo is a simulated environment for polar animals like penguins and polar bears.


Read the text below.

The Paris Olympics is going underground to find a way to keep athletes cool at the 2024 Games without air conditioners.

Organizers are planning to use a water-cooling system under the Athletes Village — much like the one that has helped the Louvre Museum cope with the sweltering heat that broke records last year — to keep temperatures in check for the Olympians and Paralympians who stay there.

The decision is part of the organizing committee’s goal to cut the carbon footprint of the Paris Games by half and stage the most sustainable Olympics to date by installing a special technology to use natural sources to keep everyone cool even during a potential heat wave.

For two months between July and September 2024, the Athletes Village north of Paris will host 15,600 athletes and sports officials during the Olympics and 9,000 athletes and their supporting teams during the Paralympics. After the games, the 50-hectare (125-acre) site next to the River Seine in the popular district of Seine-Saint-Denis will become a zero-carbon, eco-friendly residential and commercial neighborhood with 6,000 new inhabitants — the first ones moving in as soon as 2025.

In anticipation of hot weather, organizers have been studying heatwaves block by block in the Athletes Village. They have simulated conditions in the parts of the accommodation most exposed to the sun and have tested the effectiveness of the cooling system with an objective to keep the indoor temperature between 23 and 26 degrees Celsius (73 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit).

The geothermal energy system will ensure that the temperature in the athlete apartments in the Seine-Saint-Denis suburb does not rise above 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit) at night, including during a potential heat wave, said Laurent Michaud, the director of the Olympic and Paralympic Villages.

In addition to the underfloor cooling, the insulation built into the buildings will enable residents to keep the cold obtained during the night throughout the day, Michaud said. To keep the coolness inside, the athletes will have to follow some basic rules, he added, including making sure the window blinds are shut during the day.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Organizers of the Paris Olympics won’t be installing air conditioners in the Athletes’ Village as part of the city’s environmental efforts. Do you think it’s a good idea? How do you think participants would react to this? Discuss.
  • An article said that some participants are worried about their future living conditions in the Athletes’ Village due to a potential heat wave. What do you think organizers should do to ease the worry of the participants? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • What do you think about a zero-carbon, eco-friendly residential and commercial neighborhood (ex. it is costly, it is impressive)? Do you think your country can also do this? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • If the organizers of the Paris Olympics become successful in their environmental cause, do you think future organizers would also be encouraged to implement pro-environment initiatives? Why or why not? Discuss.