The Eiffel Tower may look brownish gray, but it is making an effort to turn green. Wind turbines to create electricity have been installed approximately halfway up the height of the Tower and are hidden in the iron frame of the iconic Paris landmark.
When it was first built for the 1889 World’s Fair the Eiffel Tower was only intended to last 20 years and conserving electricity was not a major concern. Today, over 125 years later, the Eiffel Tower is a symbol of France and visited by over six million people a year.
Much like the Eiffel Tower itself, the wind power is symbolic. The turbines will create electricity for the businesses on the first level, which include two restaurants and the gift shop. The power for the remainder of Eifel Tower for now comes from traditional electricity provided by EDF (Électricité de France), mainly from nuclear power plants.
Together with new high efficiency LED lights used for the Tower’s night time light show and new solar panels used for heating water, the wind power turbines are part of the Paris landmark’s effort to be more environmentally conscious. It is the purpose of these green efforts to inspire Parisians and tourists from around the world to improve their own energy efficiency.
The wind turbines themselves are an engineering and aesthetic achievement. They were designed and built by New York based Urban Green Energy and installed in February, late at night, during the only hours it is not opened to the public. The new pieces were lifted to their new positions by crane and installed by workers who had to rappel into place, working while dangling from harnesses over 400 feet off the ground.
The turbines were also painted to match the signature bronze tone of the monument and fitted into its frame to minimize any changes to the Eiffel Tower’s iconic look and shape. The new wind power generators can be seen from a distance but are not dramatically noticeable. They were also modified to be very quiet so that they do not disturb diners at the chic restaurant just below.