The iconic Eiffel Tower has had two wind turbines installed on its structure which have been carefully chosen and installed so that the impressiveness of the structure is not affected. The virtually silent turbines were specially painted to match the historic structure, bringing the image of the 1889 tower firmly into the 21st Century.
The pair of micro wind turbines have been installed by Urban Green Energy (UGE), a US-based distributed renewable energy company. The VisionAIR5 model micro wind turbines, which provide sufficient renewable power to the monument’s first floor commercial areas, are capable of generating 10,000kWh annually.
The turbines are situated inside the Eiffel Tower at about 120m (400 feet) above ground level (above the Tower’s second floor), the optimum location for harnessing steady winds.
Turbines part of a “green” makeover
Although there is no 'High Quality Environmental' benchmark for the Eiffel Tower, one of the major aims of the renovation was to achieve a major reduction in its environmental footprint as part of the City of Paris Climate Plan.
The city’s plan is aiming for a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a 25% drop in energy consumption, and for 25% of energy to come from renewable energy sources by 2020.
In addition to wind energy, the renovation also includes LED lighting and 10m2 of roof-mounted solar panels on a visitor pavilion which will meet approximately half of the two pavilions’ water heating needs. High-performance heat pumps have also been installed to ensure a constantly balanced temperature. The two pavilions have also gained a rainwater recovery system that provides flushing water to the toilet facilities.
Clean energy ambassadors
With seven million annual visitors to the Eiffel Tower, UGE, the micro-turbine industry and clean energy as a whole couldn’t have asked for a better ambassador for renewable energy.
"The Eiffel Tower is arguably the most renowned architectural icon in the world, and we are proud that our advanced technology was chosen as the Tower commits to a more sustainable future," said Nick Blitterswyk, CEO of UGE. "When visitors from around the world see the wind turbines, we get one step closer to a world powered by clean and reliable renewable energy."
The Eiffel Tower isn’t the only famous advocate for clean energy.Th following famous sites have had solar panels installed: The White House in the US, Taj Mahal, Agra, India, the Vatican in the Vatican City, and Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.