Ever since reading the news that Qatar has been selected to host the 2022 World Cup, one particular part of the story has been on my mind: Qatar has promised to build eco-friendly air conditioning units to cool down all of its to-be-built stadiums. Up until this point, I thought "air conditioning" and "eco-friendly" couldn't be used in the same sentence, unless "is not" connected them. So I went searching for more information. David Raish at the environmental website Planet Forward seems to have the best explanation:
This air conditioning will be powered by solar panels on the stadiums themselves. It is a $50 billion project designed by a German firm, Büro Albert Speer & Partner. The air conditioning system will reduce temperatures inside the stadium to 27°C, which will be a much more bearable temperature for both fans and players.
According to Al-Jazeera, “solar thermal collectors on the stadium roof will transfer and store energy which on match days will chill water, creating cold air that will be delivered into the stadium and on to the pitch through slots in the seats.” When the stadium is not in use, “The system will continuously export energy to the Qatar electric grid, enabling the stadiums to be carbon neutral.”
On the one hand, I'm skeptical that this new technology really doesn't come with a downside. On the other hand, a Qatar-based cooling company has won awards for innovating green cooling technologies. If winning its World Cup bid actually does spur Qatar to develop and implement a large-scale, eco-friendly cooling system, wouldn't that be a good thing?
Until I find evidence that this really is a bad idea — and I'll be looking — count me, unlike Jesse, as a tentative supporter of Qatar's World Cup plans.