PARIS, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- The Eiffel Tower has been fitted with two wind turbines, solar panels and rainwater collectors as part of ongoing renovations to the iconic Paris structure.
The two VisionAIR5 Vertical Axis Wind Turbines installed by New York City-based Urban Green Energy (UGE International Ltd.) will generate more than 10,000 kilowatt hours per year. The turbines are hard to notice considering they are almost silent, compact and painted the same color as the tower.
The turbines will be located above the second level, about 400 feet up, and will offset the annual consumption of all commercial activities on the tower's first floor, making them sustainable.
"The Eiffel Tower is arguably the most renowned architectural icon in the world," Nick Blitterswyk, CEO of UGE, said. "We are proud that our advanced technology was chosen as the tower commits to a more sustainable future."
The tower has also switched to LED lighting and has been fitted with solar panels and rainwater collectors. The solar panels will meet 50 percent of the tower's needs for hot water, and the collected rainwater will be used to flush the toilets at the tower.
The renovations are part of the City of Paris Climate Plan, which seeks to improve energy efficiency, urban heating and reduce gas emissions from road traffic by 2020. The Société d'Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, the company that oversees the tower, will fund the €30 million (about $34 million) cost for aesthetic and safety renovations for the tower, the first major renovation project in 30 years.