Did France really just put a wind turbine on the Eiffel Tower? Yep, and it won’t even produce a hundredth of the tower’s energy needs.
The Eiffel Tower now sports two 17-foot wind turbines 400 feet above the tower’s base, right above the second level. The wind turbines are expected to produce about 10,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year — only about 0.0015 percent of the tower’s total annual power consumption.
Jan Gromadzki, an engineer with the New York-based Urban Green Technology, said “It’s just a small drop in the ocean.”
“This installation is definitely more symbolic,” said Gromadzki, whose company was tasked with designing and installing the turbines. “But it is still significant because the merchant spaces on the first floor do consume energy, and being able to offset that consumption is something people can really assimilate and understand.”
Why did the Eiffel tower go green? Because Paris wants to green its image ahead of the United Nations climate summit the city will be hosting in December. The Verge reports that the Eiffel Tower will also get “add energy-saving LED lights and an array of solar panels to heat half of the hot water it uses” as part of its $33.6 million renovation.
Paris is also ordering municipal buildings public lights to only use electricity from green energy sources by 2016. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has proposed a diesel ban.
“It really does represent this big leap forward for renewable energy as a whole, to have this technology to the point where it can be easily adopted by consumers like the Eiffel Tower,” Gromadzki told the Verge. “And I think that was something that, five years ago, no one would’ve been ready for. It demonstrates that we’ve come this far to create renewable energy technologies that can be easily integrated into the daily lives of people around the world.”
In order to install the wind turbines on the Eiffel Tower, builders had to hoist each blade up 400 feet by hand. The city also did not want the turbines to ruin the tower’s silhouette, so the turbines had to be placed inside the towers labyrinthine iron structure and painted a similar color.
The Verge notes that “extra vibration dampeners were added to make sure the turbines wouldn’t disturb diners at the upscale Jules Verne restaurant below.” Engineers say the turbines will only produce about 40 decibels of sound — the same as a whisper.
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