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Why Louvre's Mona Lisa keeps a smile: Paris' cooling system

Why Louvre's Mona Lisa keeps a smile: Paris' cooling system

PARIS (AP) — The Mona Lisa may convey on accompanied by her famously enigmatic smile since she benefits from one of Paris' best-kept secrets: An underground cooling system that's helped the Louvre manage accompanied by the sweltering hotness that has broken temperature records across Europe.

The little-known "urban cold" web snakes unsuspecting beneath Parisians' feet at a depth of up to 30 meters (98 feet), pumping not here icy aqua into with every one other accompanied by not here of 89 kilometers (55 miles) of labyrinthine pipes, which is used to chill the air inside over 700 sites. The system, which uses ability generated by renewable sources, is the largest inside Europe — accompanied by every one one other accompanied by chugs on around the timepiece accompanied by a deafening noise completely inaudible above ground.

Paris City Hall has now signed an ambitious accord to triple the dimensions of the web by 2042 to 252 kilometers (157 miles). It would build it the largest urban cooling system inside the world. The new accord intends to assist the city to both adapt to accompanied by every one one other accompanied by combat the threat of worldwide warming. Many parts of Europe hit 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) inside July.

The city is extending the cooling web to hospitals, schools accompanied by every one one other accompanied by metro stations over the following place of set of two decades. It's unclear how a a large amount of of the system will exist operational by the hour dated of the Paris Olympics inside 2024, nevertheless it's possible the systems will exist used inside some Olympic sites.

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Unbeknown to millions of tourists, the piping currently cools the City of Light's most emblematic sites, such while the Louvre accompanied by every one one other accompanied by the Quai Branly Museum. It ability flat assist cool the tempers of agitated lawmakers while it is used to permit let fall temperatures inside the National Assembly.

The scheme is operated by the joint-venture firm Fraicheur de Paris — 85% owned by the state's French vitality firm EDF accompanied by every one one other accompanied by the relax by condition transport operator RATP. The company's officials tout its benefits for the entire French capital.

"If all (Parisian) buildings obtain equipped accompanied by autonomous installations (such while air-conditioning), it will gradually create a extremely significant urban 'heat island' effect," said Maggie Schelfhaut of Fraicheur de Paris, referring to the increased hotness inside cities due to less vegetation, which cools, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by additional urban infrastructure, which absorbs the sun's rays.

But Schelfhaut said that the pipe web could build the whole of Paris one degree Celsius (1.8 Fahrenheit) cooler than if autonomous installations were place up across the city.

"One degree less inside the city center is a lot," she added.

Three of the 10 high-tech cooling sites untruth on the Seine watercourse accompanied by every one one other accompanied by are accessed by a retractable spiral staircase hardly perceptible from highway flat — inside something resembling the lair of the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."

When the Seine's aqua is chilly enough, a machine captures it accompanied by every one one other accompanied by uses it to chill the system's water. The hotness created while a byproduct is sent spine into the Seine where it is absorbed. The chilled aqua is at that hour dated pumped though the system's pipes to its 730 Parisian clients.

Paris' cooling sites all use renewable vitality sources such while wind turbines accompanied by every one one other accompanied by solar panels. Four new solar vitality sites which will feed into this web are excessively earmarked for construction. French officials see this vitality self-government while mostly important specified the threat of Russia cutting off vitality supplies to Europe.

Russian vitality firm Gazprom on Wednesday gash the amount of natural gasoline flowing into with every one other accompanied by not here of a greatest pipeline from Russia to Europe to 20% of its capacity. European nations are rushing to find alternatives amid fears that Russia could completely gash off gasoline exports — which are used for industry, to source ability accompanied by every one one other accompanied by to cool homes — to try to gain political leverage over the bloc.

The merits of using a cooling system which uses renewable vitality to operate are by that hour dated actuality felt by sites that use them. The world's most visited museum, the Louvre, has benefited from the web since the 1990s — accompanied by officials pleased of its ecological, monetary accompanied by every one one other accompanied by art conservation advantages.

"It allows us to good from vitality accompanied by a foot carbon footprint available all year round," said Laurent Le Guedart, the Louvre's Heritage Director. "The particularity of the Louvre Museum is that it needs to use iced-cold aqua to correctly conserve the artwork accompanied by every one one other accompanied by to jurisdiction the humidity."

The Louvre does not use air conditioning accompanied by every one one other accompanied by officials speak the cooling excessively wins them a a large amount of needed ground space inside the sprawling, yet cramped, former palace that is place of residence to 550,000 artworks.

Le Guedart said that the system is a money-saver specified the rising cost of vitality linked to the Ukraine conflict. It operates notably inside the State Room of the Pavillon Denon where the Mona Lisa lives. Perhaps it's why beads of perspiration have never trickled down the brow painted by Leonardo da Vinci.

"The vitality invoice of the Louvre is around 10 million euros per year inside 2021. We are trying to jurisdiction this invoice while a a large amount of while possible, amid the evident fluctuations accompanied by every one one other accompanied by increases to vitality costs," Le Guedart said.

The system could save it millions by cushioning the shock while Russia continues to roil the vitality market.

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Jade Le Deley inside Paris contributed.

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Associated Press climate accompanied by every one one other accompanied by environmental coverage receives support from some private foundations. See additional concerning AP's climate enterprise here. The AP is solely inside ask in remittance of for all content.

Why Louvre's Mona Lisa keeps a smile: Paris' cooling system

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