Paris, the city of romance, exquisite cuisine, and bustling streets is a top destination for many travelers throughout the globe. Perhaps one of the city’s most notable sites is the infamous Eiffel Tower, a 1000+ ft tall structure situated adjacent to the Seine River.
The Eiffel Tower now has another defining factor that can draw in more tourists and help the environment; wind turbines. The news of two wind turbines installed within the Eiffel Tower had initially taken some off guard, but is nevertheless a welcoming topic.
With the growing concern of the environment encouraging new and innovative ideas, the introduction of wind turbines can help to create a domino effect of further green-energy adoption in the future.
Commitment to Sustainability
The Eiffel Tower’s operator, Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, announced their commitment to sustainable development in 2015 by installing two 22-ft-tall wind turbines on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower - 400-ft above the ground. This location was found to be the most beneficial for optimal wind coverage and, therefore, maximum power generated.
The two turbines are believed to produce up to 10,000kWh annually, enough energy to power the first-floor’s shop.
The installation was done following the Eiffel Tower’s first-floor renovation and incorporates ecological planning as a part of the City of Paris Climate Plan. Other environmentally beneficial initiatives that went into this renovation include positioning the windows in the most efficient way to lower energy costs, installing LED lighting, a rain-water retrieval system, and solar panels on the roof of the Ferrié Pavilion. The solar panels are expected to cover roughly 50% of the water usage in both of the Eiffel Tower’s pavilions.
The country of France is home to environmental laws and regulations that far surpass that of some rival countries. Adding wind turbines to the top of the Eiffel Tower is just another way the country has shown its dedication to the environment.
A Historic Monument
The Eiffel Tower was constructed in 1889 for the world fair and to mark the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. The construction took just over two years and has since become the home to light shows, telecommunications, and a famous tourist spot.
Today, the monument is synonymous with the city of Paris. It is recognized as the most visited site globally that one has to pay for, with an average of 7 million visitors annually. Additionally, with the growing push toward sustainability from the general public, making this site eco-friendlier can aid in the lowering of its environmental footprint and potentially encourage other sites around the city to follow suit.
The Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel’s decision to utilize wind turbines is an effective choice given the advantageous location and the ability to directly transfer generated energy to the first-floor store.
Wind turbines are a type of renewable energy generated by the wind and are a more environmentally sound option than fossil fuels. Strong winds turn a turbine that is connected to a generator which produces energy. Generally, the power generated is transferred to a local grid, where it will be distributed for use. However, on smaller occasions, the energy can be transferred directly to the source for use, such as the case with the Eiffel Tower.
The downsides to wind energy include the giant shadow they can cast, a potential impact on surrounding birds, and a lack of constant generation due to changing wind patterns. The Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel has considered these factors and installed the turbines within the structure to prevent a shadow, lower risk of contact with birds, and provide the ability to generate wind from all angles, providing a maximum outcome.
Nick Blitterswyk, the UGE CEO, states that “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. When visitors from around the world see the wind turbines, we get one step closer to a world powered by clean and reliable renewable energy."
Further, the recent release of the IPCC’s report confirms what scientists have suspected to be future trends concerning climate change. With this taken into consideration, a growing number of individuals are concerned for the planet’s future. Knowing that sustainable initiatives have already been initiated and are expected to increase more so in the future can aid in lowering the worry that some may carry.
We can expect to see other attractions taking green initiatives in the future, as the shift toward a more sustainable world is swiftly in the works, and certainly a welcoming sight.