As London readies itself for the Royal Wedding, an event that’s placing the city smack in the center of the worldwide spotlight, GE has also been busy helping improve the city’s lighting, literally. Today, the company announced that it, along with London 2012 Sustainability partner EDF Energy and the City of London, was entering a public-private finance deal with Mayor Boris Johnson and the City of London Corporation to install a new energy-efficient lighting system on the legendary Tower Bridge.
Plans call for upgrading the famous structure’s current lighting system, which is a quarter of a century old and consists of traditional, static flood-lighting that flattens the breathtaking architecture. The existing system also uses a hefty amount of electricity.
The new lighting plan will install LEDs and flexible lighting systems on the bridge, along with a new cabling system. The new lights will enhance Tower Bridge’s features rather than deflate them – picture all those gothic turrets, central aerial walkways and suspension chains – to properly illuminate its status as one of the world’s most recognizable landmarks.
In addition, the lighting system will be customizable, meaning that the city can use it to create spectacular colors and displays on the Tower Bridge during major events like the upcoming London Olympics.
Once the project receives planning permissions, work could start by September and be completed by spring 2012, in time for the city’s Olympic and Paralympic Games (alas, the Royal Wedding will have to settle for the current lights). Commercial agreements have already been signed, and a detailed planning application is being drawn-up.
Mayor Johnson said of the agreement: “I want London to look its very best in 2012 as the eyes of the world are upon us. Tower Bridge is one of this city’s most stunning landmarks, recognised the world over and therefore deserving of a star role in these celebrations. I am thrilled to have brokered this deal – at no cost to the taxpayer — to bathe Tower Bridge in eco-friendly light to create a fresh perspective of this wonderful icon.”
GE has been operating in the UK since the 1930s, and currently has 18,000 employees in the country working in energy, oil & gas, healthcare, aerospace, finance, and media.
Click to enlarge: Check out an infographic about the London Bridge lighting project.
*Read today’s announcement here.
* See here and here to read about GE’s wind turbine manufacturing efforts in the gusty UK, where a recent study predicted massive growth in the offshore wind energy market in the coming decades.
* Read about a recent GE survey of business leaders in the UK about high tech manufacturing.