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Paris expands its Seine river-based urban cooling system, aiming to reduce carbon emissions and meet rising air conditioning demands.

In a bid to address the increasing demand for air conditioning and simultaneously reduce carbon emissions, the city of Paris has unveiled plans to expand its urban cooling system that leverages water from the Seine river, according to the city's secretary general, Raphaelle Nayral.

This initiative, which is Europe's largest cooling network, already caters to numerous sites throughout Paris. Notably, several buildings designated for the upcoming Paris Olympics, including the iconic Grand Palais located in the heart of the city, are beneficiaries of this system.

The mechanism behind this innovative cooling system is quite straightforward. Water is drawn from the Seine River and directed to cooling power stations. These stations then pump the cooled water via underground pipes to various buildings. This system negates the need for individual air conditioning units, offering a more sustainable alternative. Nayral emphasized the potential of this system to significantly reduce air-conditioning carbon emissions in the city.

The network, operated by Paris Fraicheur, is predominantly owned by French energy giant Engie, holding an 85% stake, while the remaining 15% is owned by Paris transport operator RATP.

Europe's largest cooling network serves sites across the city, including buildings that will be used for the Paris Olympics next summer, like the Grand Palais, a sprawling glass and steel exhibit hall in central Paris. It draws water from the Seine River for cooling power stations that pump cooled water through underground pipes to buildings that use it instead of individual air conditioning units.

Nayral further elaborated on the future prospects of this initiative. Plans are underway to extend this system to the southern regions of Paris. Additionally, a range of public facilities, including hospitals, day care centers, and retirement homes, are set to benefit from this expansion. The overarching goal is to triple the network's reach, aiming for approximately 250 km (about 155 miles) by the year 2042.

According to Reuters, the urgency and relevance of such a system have been underscored by the recent extreme summer temperatures experienced in Paris. Last year, the city witnessed temperatures soaring to a staggering 43 degrees Celsius (109 degrees Fahrenheit) in July.

Ghislain Tezenas Du Montcel, who owns an office building utilizing this underground cooling system, vouched for its sustainability and financial advantages. With the escalating costs of electricity, Tezenas du Montcel believes that air conditioning through this network is now a more economical option.

Eunice is a sustainability writer whose passion is sharing accessible eco-friendly practices with GreenCitizen's global readership. She enjoys birdwatching during her downtime, often deriving inspiration from nature's resilience. An enthusiastic cyclist, she is also an ardent advocate of eco-friendly transport.

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