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Century-Old Landmark Gets an Energy Boost

Photonics Spectra
Jul 2015
It has been more than 125 years since the grander-than-life Eiffel Tower was first designed and constructed in Paris. It officially entered the 21st century in recent months, thanks to a project meant to push a significant reduction in its ecological footprint.

In partnership with Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel (SETE, the company that operates the Eiffel Tower), New York City-based UGE International Ltd. has equipped the beloved landmark with LED lighting, solar panels and wind turbines. The work is part of a renovation and upgrade project within the City of Paris Climate Plan, led by Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

“[The mayor’s office] really wanted to make a strong statement about renewable energy,” said project manager Jan Gromadzki, adding that the project allows Paris to “show the world we’re moving in this direction.”

UGE designed the clean-source wind energy system, including installation of two VisionAir5 vertical-axis wind turbines, “extending [SETE’s] commitment to sustainable development.”

Part of a clean-source energy system designed by UGE International, two vertical-axis wind turbines have been installed on the Eiffel Tower, in addition to LED lighting and roof-mounted solar panels.
Part of a clean-source energy system designed by UGE International, two vertical-axis wind turbines have been installed on the Eiffel Tower, in addition to LED lighting and roof-mounted solar panels. Photo courtesy of UGE International.

The wind turbines are nearly silent and designed to capture wind from any direction to offer “a unique addition to the historic structure.” They have been placed above the second level of the tower (400 feet above ground level) to maximize energy production. They are specially painted to match the tower, allowing it to retain its splendor and historic integrity.

The turbines should produce more than 10,000 kWh of electricity each year. According to UGE, the production will offset the annual consumption of all commercial activity at the Eiffel Tower, which includes an eatery and souvenir shop on the first floor.

Additionally, the renovation project includes LED lighting and roof-mounted solar panels that extend 10 m², installed on a visitor pavilion – the output will meet approximately 50 percent of the water-heating needs of the tower’s two pavilions. High-performance heat pumps have also been installed to ensure a constantly balanced temperature, according to UGE, and the two pavilions have gained a rainwater recovery system that provides flushing water to the restroom facilities inside the landmark.

“The Eiffel Tower is arguably the most renowned architectural icon in the world,” said Nick Blitterswyk, CEO of UGE. He noted that this project brings Paris “one step closer to a world powered by clean and reliable, renewable energy.”


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