France Gets a Little Greener, One Eiffel Tower at a Time
As climate change turns the screws on the Earth’s temperatures, Paris takes a symbolic step towards energy that does not produce carbon emissions.
Two new wind turbines have been fitted on the lower deck— about 400 feet up— of the Eiffel Tower. Each Vision AIR5 Vertical Axis Wind Turbine was designed and installed by New York-based Urban Green Technology (UGE International Ltd).
The Eiffel Tower, which is 125 years old, is one of the most recognizable structures in the world, attracting over 7 million tourists each year. According to United Press International, the renovation, which also includes switching to LED lighting, as well as solar panel and rainwater collector installation, is part of the City of Paris Climate Plan.
Related Story: Floating Wind Turbines Capture Deep Sea Power
The wind turbines will produce about 10,000 kilowatt hours per year. While the total amount of energy the Eiffel Tower consumes per annum is an estimated 6.7 gigawatt hours, the relatively measly energy the wind turbines will create will still be enough to power the shop-filled first floor of the tower.
Two of the Eiffel Tower's new wind turbines. (UGE International Ltd.)
Jan Gromadzki, a UGE engineer, told The Verge the turbines were not supposed to make a dent in the tower’s energy use. "This installation is definitely more symbolic,” Gromadzki said. “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."
In Gromadzki’s view, fitting a global icon with wind turbines, no matter how negligible their contribution is, represents an advance in bringing green energy technologies into the mainstream.
Related Story: Top 10: U.S. Retailers Using Green Energy
"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 said. “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."
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.