It’s perhaps the most iconic structure in all of the world. The Eiffel Tower is a stunningly unique architectural achievement that draws visitors to Paris by the millions. So it’s pretty impressive that the symbol of French tourism has been outfitted with — of all things — wind turbines.
Before you get too concerned about the look of the Eiffel Tower changing, know this — you can barely see these innovative wind turbines on the structure. Tucked inside the second level’s scaffolding, the turbines are painted the same color as the surrounding metalwork and a visitor really needs to be looking closely to spot them from afar.
Red, white, blue…and green
So why has the 126-year-old icon decided to suddenly go green? It’s part of the City of Paris Climate Plan, which is asking for reductions in energy use, among other initiatives, by the year 2020. Wind turbines are just the beginning of the eco-friendly improvements that the operator of the Eiffel Tower, Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, is planning on implementing.
The 21-foot-high vertical-axis wind turbines were installed 381 feet high on the second level as the most suitable location for optimal wind. Together, the two turbines can produce up to 10,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) a year, which will be enough for the needs of the first-floor shop of the Eiffel Tower.
The environmental improvements don’t end there, though. The first floor of the Eiffel Tower was recently renovated. Among the improvements were repositioning of windows in the pavilion to prevent “solar discomfort.” Though the panoramic views weren’t affected, the heat absorption has now been reduced 25 percent in the summer, which saves on energy use for air-conditioning. The renovation also saw nearly all the lighting on the first floor changed to energy-efficient LEDs.
Solar panels are another surprising green find at the Eiffel Tower. The Ferrié Pavilion has a 107-square-foot area of panels creating solar energy that heats about half the hot water in the two pavilions at the Eiffel Tower. A rainwater capture system is funneling the water into the toilets.
Though wind turbines, solar panels and rainwater catchment systems seem pretty intensive for the greening of the Eiffel Tower, that’s still not the extent of the eco-friendly improvements to the tourist attraction. In January 2015, the Eiffel Tower chose a 100 percent renewable energy supply contract, and ditched their old power company.
As one of the world’s most iconic visitor destinations quickly, and easily, goes green, hopefully it will be a beacon of light that shows the rest of the tourism industry that it is possible (and profitable) to protect the environment.
Feature image courtesy of Adobe Stock