Rules restricting the installation of air conditioning in Geneva have led to a rise in the purchase of inefficient mobile air conditioning units.
Installing air conditioning in Switzerland is often subject to rules set at the cantonal level. Geneva is the strictest canton. To qualify, a home owner must prove they have a legitimate need, for example, by producing a medical certificate, and install systems that capture some of the heat emissions and condensation produced.
Other cantons require air conditioners to be powered by solar panels. This increases the upfront cost for anyone without solar panels, putting them out of reach of many home owners.
Given the restrictions and administrative hurdles to install an inbuilt air conditioning solution, people are buying mobile units instead. Emrush Dermaku, a manager at an Interdiscount electronics store in the canton told RTS that sales of portable air conditioners were up 50% on last year.
The problem with mobile air conditioners is their high ecological footprint. Because the whole device is placed inside, it heats and cools the room at the same time. One way to let the heat out is to place the back of the unit near an open window. However, this can let out much of the cold air coming out the other side, requiring the device to be run on higher power for longer.
Florent Tempion, an air conditioning installer told RTS he receives up to 100 calls a day from people wanting to install air conditioning private homes. When people are told they can’t they don’t understand he said.