On the 20th of March, steps will be cut in the ice for the seasonal opening of the Refuge de GoÃ»ter, located at 3835 metres on the route to Mont Blanc. When the refuge reopens, the company “Albedo Energy”, based in Savoie Technolac, will recover data from external probes and eight internal sensors placed in the building. They will study the behaviour of the unoccupied refuge over the winter period & try to assess the impact of solar radiation on the indoor temperature.
Each year, 7,000 climbers pass through the refuge. Measurements were also carried out while the refuge was open, in order to accurately estimate the amount of heating & ventilation required in the refuge, given the solar and thermal energy produced there. “Since the weather station on the Aiguille du Midi was out of service, we had to devise our own dynamic thermal weather model, checking hour by hour the changes in temperature of the shelter due to weather changes, “said Michael Miller, director of the company.
The company checked the number of people staying in the refuge, and noticed that when 110 people were in the common room, the temperature rose to 35Â°C! They also envisaged several disaster scenarios, of climbers stranded in the refuge with the solar & thermal systems out of order for 15 days. “We had to provide solutions to avoid endangering the lives of the occupants,” explained Michel Meunier. He believes that he will never again undertake a study as important as this one, and his company is very happy to be associated with such a prestigious project.
Albedo also produced a carbon footprint of the refuge, including the research phase, the construction phase, then a lifespan until 2062. With 540 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, the GoÃ»ter sets an exemplary standard, considering that the average French family would produce about 450 tonnes of CO2 over the same period.