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Cooler commute Zurich trains to lower temperature to save energy

train inside

The measure will be rolled out progressively from 2019 onward.


The Swiss Federal Railways has announced that it will be lowering the temperature in the carriages of suburban trains in Zurich by up to two degrees Celsius to reduce energy consumption. 

A pilot project in January that involved reducing carriage temperatures from 22˚C to 20˚C (71.6 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit) on selected trains received a favourable response from over 6,000 passengers. Posters informed passengers on the experimental trains, inviting them to give their opinion on the company’s website. 

On Thursday, the rail operator announced that it would commence progressively reducing carriage temperatures on Zurich regional trains from 2019 onwards. 

If the measure is applied to 100 first-generation Zurich regional (RER) trains, it will save 1.6 gigawatt hours, the equivalent of the electricity consumption of about 400 households. While if the temperature is reduced by 2 degrees on all RER trains, the savings could be as much as 3.7 gigawatt hours – the equivalent of the consumption of a town of 2,200 inhabitants. 

The trial took its cue from guidelines published by SuisseEnergiee,external link a government-backed body working to promote environmental awareness, which places the optimum room temperature at 20 degrees Celsius. 

The experiment comes as Switzerland’s rail network – one of the world’s busiest – looks for ways to secure funding, become more efficient, and move towards a more environmentally friendly future.



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