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Freshwater swimming: VINCI innovations for summer bathing

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2 August 2023 - Sustainability - France

In the summer heat, there's nothing better than a spot of swimming, whether sporty or relaxed. Prefer a swimming pool? VINCI's teams are supporting local authorities in optimising their energy consumption.
Or rather in the river? The Group is working to turn the Seine into a future bathing area.

Reducing the energy bill of swimming pools

France's more than 4,000 public swimming pools welcome millions of visitors every year, particularly during the summer months. Energy consumption lies at the heart of the challenges facing these municipal infrastructures. Whether it's a question of reducing municipal bills or limiting their environmental footprint, municipalities, manufacturers and energy suppliers are committed to rationalising the energy consumption of these facilities.

Swimming lengths in a pool heated by the road!

What if we could store the heat from the road in summer to heat our buildings, our water or even our swimming pools in winter? It's already possible! Power Road®, an innovation from Eurovia (VINCI Construction), is based on the concept of a conventional, viable and durable roadway with an integrated heat exchanger.
For example, during the summer months, the thermal energy from the sun's rays on the road is captured and then used immediately to maintain swimming pools at temperature. This energy can also be stored in the ground, to be reused later, in winter, to produce domestic hot water, heat nearby buildings and infrastructure, or even return the heat to the road and remove snow or ice from the roadway, thus avoiding the use of de-icing salts.

At the time of renovating the Saint Pol de Léon swimming pool, the Haut Léon Communauté community of municipalities decided to install Power Road® technology on 860 m2 of the car park. The solar radiation absorbed by the roadway is used to preheat the water in the pools, with the heat produced by Power Road® corresponding to 39% of the preheating energy required.

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Creation of a Power Road® roadway in Saint-Pol-de-Léon (Finistère)

Rationalise and make the most of the energy used by swimming pools

VINCI Construction companies in France have recently completed a large number of swimming pools for local authorities wishing to offer their residents durable facilities. Each of these works is designed and built to limit their environmental impact: carbon-free energy production, self-consumption and the recovery of thermal fluid are at the heart of their challenges.
In Lens, for example, a new aquatic leisure complex covering more than 6,400 m2 was recently inaugurated. 221 photovoltaic solar panels have been installed on the roof of the building to help de-carbonise its energy consumption.
In Reims, after more than two years of works, VINCI Construction teams have handed over an aquatic leisure complex featuring an Olympic-size pool, an outdoor Nordic pool and two ice rinks. Up to 70% of the energy produced by cooling the ice rinks is recovered using heat exchangers to heat the main pool. Supplemented by solar panels on the roof of the buildings, this system heats 40% of the water used in the complex.

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Swimming in the Seine

In 2024, the Seine will host the open water swimming and triathlon events of the Olympic Games. Quite a feat, given that swimming has been strictly prohibited there for half a century! And to improve the long-term health of the river water quality, the City of Paris has appointed the Impluvium Consortium, which includes Soletanche Bachy France and Bessac, two VINCI Construction subsidiaries, to construct an extraordinary storage and retention basin. During intense bouts of rainfall, this infrastructure will hold back the rainwater, preventing it from saturating the sanitation networks and causing them to overflow and discharge polluted water into the Seine. The structure is unique in that it is located right in the heart of the capital, just a few metres from the foundations of a Metro viaduct, and exceptional in terms of its size: 50 m in diameter and a storage capacity of 46, 000 m3.

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Construction worksite for the storage/retention basin near Austerlitz (Paris)