Does the Eiffel Tower Look Greener to You?

It should: in a continued effort to renovate the Iron Lady (as she is affectionately called in France) and engage in a more eco-conscious approach, the company in charge of operating it (Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, or SETE) has equipped her with two giant wind turbines now operating a 127 meter altitude.

Visitors to one of the world’s most iconic monuments will have to look closely to see the new additions, which look more like sculptures or works of art by Calder than the windmills you may be used to seeing in the countryside. Though they are large — spanning a hefty 7 meters high by 3 meters wide — they spin vertically on their axis in twisting fashion that compliments the lines of the existing structure. They are also painted with the Eiffel Tower’s signature greige color.

IMG_6266According to SETE, who commissioned US-based company Urban Green Energy to develop and install the turbines, the 10,000 kWh they produce will cover energy use by the tower’s second floor shops. That’s only a fraction of what the Eiffel Tower consumes over the course of a year: it takes 6.7 GWh of electricity (670 times what the two turbines will produce) to power the 20,000 lightbulbs that turn the tower into a sparkling wonderland every hour.

High energy use is exactly why the City of Paris has embarked on this effort to make the Eiffel Tower greener, and show the world it is ready for a more sustainable future. The two turbines are more symbolic than they are truly ground-breaking, but they aren’t the only measure the operating company of the tower has put into place to display its commitment towards a greener Paris.

The second floor is now equipped with LEDs, and the Ferrié Pavillon – where visitors can eat and relax – boasts solar panels that power half of its yearly consumption of hot water.
Finally, proving that 2015 is the year of increased sustainability for the Eiffel Tower, a new energy provider was selected in January to use 100% renewable energy in all of the monument’s operations.

Next time you’re indulging in the City of Lights’ unparalleled sightseeing, don’t forget to play “spot the turbine.” Not that anyone seems to need a new reason to visit the Eiffel Tower, where over 7 million tourists came to admire the view last year alone.


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