By: Melissa C. Lott
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The City of Light’s green makeover touched the iconic Eiffel Tower last week as it ramped up two onsite wind turbines. These turbines are installed inside the tower’s metal scaffolding on the second level, and are painted in the same color to minimize their visual impact on the 126-year-old tower.
They are so camouflaged, in fact, that one can just barely make them out in this video (look on the right side of the second platform):
The pair of VisionAIR5 wind turbines were designed by Urban Green Energy. At 5.2 meters in height and 3.2 meters in width, these vertical axis wind turbines weigh in at 756 kilograms (kg) and have a lifetime of 20 years. Furthermore, they are perportedly quiet due to lower blade tip speed and low number of revolutions per minute (RPM).
The turbines are installed 122 meters (400ft) from the ground in order to maximize annual electricity production potential. All told, the turbines are expected to produce about 10,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, or about the total annual demand of the tower’s first floor, home to restaurants, a souvenir shop, and history exhibits.
And that’s not all.
The Eiffel Tower is also in the midst of installing rainwater collection systems to supply water for the toilets, high-efficiency LED lights, and solar panels in order to further decrease the icon’s environmental footprint. While the tower was not required to meet any environmental benchmark, the tower’s operating company (Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, or simply the SETE) is working to reduce the tower’s environmental impact by 25 percent as part of the City of Paris Climate Plan. Furthermore, according to reports, SETE is funding the entire cost of the renovation itself.
Photo Credit: Urban Green Energy (UGE)