Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Lausanne, Switzerland and the Heatwave

This post is for everybody who is not currently living in Switzerland.

If you have been visiting or living in Switzerland for about the last 6 weeks you will not need reminding that

We are having a prolonged heatwave

Temperatures during the day are normally at least 35 degrees C (95 degrees C)

What is the problem?

Is sounds like a drama but Marcus simply can't take this heat! 

Although I could take it if it was for a limited duration sports competition e.g. the 5 hours spent in 35 degree+ heat on the La Favorit Cycle, it's quite different if it is day in day out agony.

Remember that in Switzerland

- We are used to Snow and sub zero temperatures in Winter and usually until at least March

- Upper temperatures for our altitude  (700 metres up) are usually about 25 degrees max

- Anything above 30 degrees ambient and our Server computer overheat.

Guilty Apologies in Advance
I hope my post does not come across as Winging liberal, afraid of the real world.  I fully appreciate there are some very hot countries out there, where these temperatures are a daily occurrence.   But for parental planning I might have grown up in same.  

Solutions so far

01 down to the basement

This Tuesday afternoon Agata and Marcus sought refuge in our basement cave.  It is about 20 degrees C cold in there. 

We spent a pleasant hour replacing the Dura Ace Brake pads on Agata's bicycle.   It's the first time I ever heard Agata say "Darling, let's go to the Cave for some bicycle maintenance"

02 Closed Shutters and Windows

It goes directly against the Swiss culture which is to open Windows and Shutters during the day.

At night the temperature drops to about 25 degrees C so we open all windows and shutter sto drop the Apartment to this temperature.

Then about 06.00 we rush around closing all windows and putting down the shutters so that no sunlight can enter either

This strategy works upto about noon in all areas except in Marcus' study where server computers kick in and soon raise the temperature to unacceptable levels by early morning.

03 Cold Showers

We always have a shower after sports and on waking and before bedtime.   So this means usually 4 showers or more per day.

And now we have made them cold showers!

Aside from the energy saving :-)  we are also promoting additional cold showers as the need arises.  One of the best methods of staying cool for modest cost  (cf air conditioning)

04 Heat loss due to evaporation

Yes,  it's not a pretty sight but Marcus' floor watering strategy is highly commended by Agata.

The idea is the evaporating water requires energy and so all the floors are washed and cleaned and this also cools.

Please see the linked article about what energy can be removed via this method.

05 The Air Conditioner

We have invested in a portable Air conditioner but whole years can roll by without it's use.   2015 is not one of them.

Given that the AC uses over 1KW of electrical power the system only works if that 1KW of heat plus any exchanged heat can be dumped outside, whilst cold air is blown inside.

This just about works in the study to keep the temperature at about 29 degrees.  Uncomfortably hot but just cool enough to keep our Servers running.

06 Mountains
You might believe that at higher altitudes temperatures would drop substantially.

Well first there is the cost of getting up there but we tried popping over to Verbier as a test.   Whilst a run was possible under the direct sunlight the perceived temperature was still over a stifling 30 degrees  (in shaded passes the temp dropped down to 20 something, but this is rare).

So nice try but not practical.

07 Get out of here

If all else fails we reserve the right to temporarily get the hell out of hot Switzerland and rest up in a cooler part of the world.  And for now that is just about anywhere else in Europe.


In summary:  Don't come to Switzerland right now unless you are comfortable with heatwave temperatures.

Coolio: Too Hot