Technology and Travel

by Tom Worthington



Marmaris is located on the coast of southern Turkey. The town is a holiday spot for English tourists, with sun, sand and water sports. Like Istanbul, but less so, there are restaurant and tour touts offering their products every few metres around the old town and port. It is best to avoid these and dine at Ozgur Bufe, Tepe Mah. 36 Sok. No. 61/B, opposite the Mosque in the old own. You can choose from what is in season. If you want anything the proprietor doesn't have, then you may have to wait a minute while he nips next door to get it.

You need to take a torch with you as the power went off twice in the few days I was in Marmaris. The larger hotels have diesel generators which start up a few seconds after the power fails. But most of the restaurants and shops in two make do with candles and oil lamps. The scooters which are otherwise a pest become handy portable lights.

Many of the shops and restaurant have been fitted with modern and efficient low power lights. These could be powered by a small Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS), of the sort commonly used in Turkey for computers. It is curious that shopkeepers did not add one of these for their till and lights. But sitting outside Ozgur Bufe in the blackout, with just a candle, being able to see the stars over the Mosque was magical.

Amphitheater, Marmaris, Turkey

Marmaris has some tourist attractions, such as an amphitheater (used for concerts), but the main attraction is access to the water, with a busy harbor full of yachts and a port for ferries to the islands.

Bazaar, Marmaris, Turkey

The Bazaar at Marmaris is covered with a curved polycarbonate roof. The result is something which is modern, comfortable, but still open to the air. The atmosphere is disturbed by the occasional scooter.

Mobile earthstation at Marmaris, Turkey

Outside one bank I noticed what looked like a TV outside broadcast van, with a large satellite dish on the roof. Exactly what this was for was not clear.

Folding bicycle, Marmaris, Turkey

Marmaris is a popular harbor and as a result there where numerous folding bicycles on the streets. These can be stored in a small space on board. There are some stainless steel models available, to resist corrosion from salt water.

Ferry King Saron, Marmaris, Turkey.

The Greek island of Rhodes is a short ferry ride from Marmaris. The Greek ferry "King Saron" which makes the trip several times a day was built in Western Australia. Many of the high speed catamaran ferries seen in Greek waters were made in Australia, either in Western Australia, or Tasmania.

Solar hot water panels of the roof of a Marmaris hotel

Most of the houses and hotels in Marmaris appear to have roof mounted solar hot water panels. Some systems seem larger than needed just for hot water, covering the whole roof and perhaps are used for space heating. The most common design has a glass covered panel of about three square metres, with two tanks mounted above.

While the use of solar panels for water heating is a step forward for the environment, the installation of air conditioners for hotels, stores and restaurants is a step back. The older houses of Marmaris appear to have been designed for the climate, with wooden shutters over windows and awnings for shade and thick stone or brick walls to provide thermal mass. But these buildings and more modern less well designed ones are being retrofitted with air conditioning, presumably due to tourist demand. The result will be higher costs, more blackouts and increased greenhouse generation. One positive is that many hotels have switches fitted to the windows and balcony doors to switch off the air conditioner when the doors are opened.

It may not be acceptable to tourists to have hotels and restaurant without air conditioning, but perhaps it could be programmed to be more environmentally friendly. This could be done by having a thermometer in the external unit to set the inside temperature relative to that outside. Rather than maintaining a constant temperature the air conditioner would maintain a comfortable range relative to that outside. This would take less energy and also make it more comfortable. Also if the units switched off automatically when rooms are empty (by detecting movement of people), that would help. If the fan continued operating with the cooling function off, air conditioners could provide some of the function of a ceiling fan as well.

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