While many people enjoyed the hot weather last week, international residents at the Zernike Tower had to sweat and bear it. Without air conditioning, the temperature in their rooms soared above 40 degrees Celsius.
Bin Lin, an energy and environmental sciences master student from China, wasn’t able to stay in his room last week. With south-facing windows, his studio on the twenty-first floor gets scorching hot, even with the curtains closed and a fan running. ‘I had to spend most of my time in the lobby.’
He is not the only one who finds the heat unbearable. ‘A lot of people are complaining’, he says, showing a photo one of his neighbours posted in the residential chat group. It shows a candle that melted from the heat.
The problem occurred last year, as well. Zernike Tower, owned by the Xior Student Housing real estate company, welcomed its first residents in 2020. When history student Matthew Squire arrived from England during that summer’s heatwave, he realised that his studio, which costs six hundred euros a month, had no ventilation and only one window, which he could hardly open. ‘It was so bad that I was sweating into my food during dinner.’
He even ended up getting ill. ‘I thought it was because of general exhaustion, but then it turned out the room temperature was 50 degrees for two days.’
After that, his parents told him to buy an air conditioner, which cost him additional seven hundred euros. That helped him to survive last week, too, though he hopes Xior doesn’t charge him extra for the electricity now. ‘If they do charge me, I will probably contact the Socialist Party’, he says. ‘They’ve put letters into our post box saying that they want to talk to the city council.’
He wants to speak up for other residents, too. ‘I do worry that if we have a big heat wave again, it could get so bad that someone will faint. It needs to be solved before that happens.’
Mathematics student Leonardo Bertamini agrees that something should be done, although so far, he he hasn’t found the time to file a complaint. ‘We’re in the exam period, so I spend most of my time studying in the lobby.’
Since it was only last summer when the tower, with its twenty-three storeys, welcomed its first residents, Matthew thought the indoor heat was a teething problem. ‘I guess people didn’t complain as much because it’s a brand new building, so next year it’d be fine.’
Since the problem hasn’t been solved, Matthew has already decided to move to a different part of the city. ‘The temperature here is the reason I won’t come back.’