The Eiffel Tower Is Now a Powerful Wind Energy Machine

Attracting some 7 million visitors every year, the Eiffel Tower is one of the most popular sights not just of Paris, but the world, and now it’s greener than ever.

The 125-year-old structure is partially powering itself thanks to two new wind turbines that were just installed.

Located above the second level, the turbines will produce over 10,000 kWh of electricity per year, offsetting the annual consumption of commercial activity on the Eiffel Tower’s first floor, which thanks to a larger refurbishment project now includes two panoramic pavilions with meeting and conference spaces, plus a new glass floor.

One of the major goals of the refurbishment project was to achieve a significant reduction in its ecological footprint as part of the City of Paris Climate Plan.

In addition to the wind turbines, other green enhancements include roof mounted solar panels–whose output will meet approximately 50 percent of the water heating needs of both new pavilions–plus a rainwater recovery system that provides flushing water to the toilet facilities, and also reduces the amount of energy needed to power the booster pumps used to pump water to the higher levels of the vertiginous tower.

(If you have any doubt about the potential power of a flushing toilet, you should read about what Portland is up to!)

To top off the green changes, in another energy saving move, almost all of the lighting on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower has been converted to LED.

The Eiffel Tower’s green upgrades come at a good time, with the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC due to take place in Paris this December.

Speaking about those upgrades, Eiffel Tower spokesman Jean François Martins shares, “The Eiffel Tower and its teams are constantly developing features, hospitality facilities and services offered to visitors, in ways that respect the principles of sustainable development and ensure high levels of safety.”

U.S.-based Urban Green Energy (UGE), the self-proclaimed global leader in distributed renewable energy, was the lucky company chosen to install the Eiffel Tower’s two VisionAIR5 vertical axis wind turbines, in partnership with the Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel (SETE), the Paris authority responsible for managing the Tower.

How does UGE CEO Nick Blitterswyk feel to have such a high (no pun intended) profile client? “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,” he says.

Wind turbine installation

Credit: UGE

Installing giant wind turbines into an iconic structure located 400 feet above ground level was no easy task for UGE. Mounting the turbines required each component to be hoisted individually and suspended with rope above the tower’s second level.

Amazingly, the Eiffel Tower remained open to the public throughout the entire refurbishment project, including all of its sustainable development upgrades.

Noise from the turbines is not a concern because apparently the new additions are super quiet as far as wind turbines go, and in case you’re worried that the turbines will visually conflict with the Eiffel Tower’s original design, the turbines are “specially painted to match the iconic tower,” as UGE put it.

For you history buffs—it’s worth mentioning that the Eiffel Tower wasn’t always revered as the beloved artistic symbol of romance that it is today.

Long ago when the tower was in its infancy, Parisian artists petitioned against the “monstrous” structure.

Here’s how the History Channel tells it:

The radical design of the Eiffel Tower inspired anything but love in the hearts of 300 prominent Parisian artists and intellectuals who signed the following manifesto that ran in the Le Temps newspaper on Valentine’s Day in 1887: “We, writers, painters, sculptors, architects, passionate lovers of the beauty, until now intact, of Paris, hereby protest with all our might, with all our indignation, in the name of French taste gone unrecognized, in the name of French art and history under threat, against the construction, in the very heart of our capital, of the useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower.”

Given the precarious state of the environment, if he was alive today, who knows what Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the original Eiffel Tower, would think of the new wind turbines.

Hopefully he would see them as a step in the right direction–a symbol for the world to admire–that conveys the reality of humanity’s situation, which is that without a planet, nothing else will matter.

As for UGE, their dream is to power the world with renewable energy. Perhaps next they can try for the Golden Gate Bridge. It gets awfully windy up there.

Photo Credit: UGE

132 comments

Shivraj B
Shivraj Barot3 months ago

Thanks for sharing excellent informations. Your web-site is so cool. I am impressed by the details that you?¦ve on this blog.

Eiffel Tower History

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Warren Webber
Warren Webber3 years ago

Live long and prosper!

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dagmar karin dag
dagmar karin dag3 years ago

Es interesante,gracias por el articulo

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Cat N.

Well done.

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Miriam O.

Thank you for sharing! Great article!

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Sjors S.
Sjors S3 years ago

I will pay attention to it the next time I visit Paris. Thanks for mentioning it.

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Nikki Davey
Nikki Davey3 years ago

Quelled bonne idee !
Well done to the French.

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heather g.
heather g3 years ago

We don't see many of these developments in Canada....

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Victoria P.
Victoria P3 years ago

Thank-you for the good news!

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