LED lighting will illuminate London’s Tower Bridge

8 Nov 2011

Tower Bridge in London, which will get a facelift, courtesy of LED lighting supplied by GE

General Electric and EDF Energy have got the go-ahead to install energy-efficient LED technology and a cabling system to illuminate the 800-foot Tower Bridge in London, enhancing the bridge’s gothic features in time for the 2012 Olympic Games.

The new lighting will replace a 25-year-old legacy system and help cut the amount of energy required to light the London landmark by 40pc, said GE today.

The bridge lighting will be installed by the French firm Citelum, which has designed lighting for landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, and the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The new system is designed to enhance the architectural features of the 117-year-old bridge. GE said today that its multi-colour LEDs with variable intensity will illuminate the bridge’s Victorian gothic turrets, granite and stone towers, as well as an aerial walkway and suspension chains.

Construction of the bridge started in 1886. It took It took eight years, five major contractors and the labour of 432 construction workers to build Tower Bridge. The total cost to build the bridge was stg£1,184,000 at the time (stg£100m in 2011 money).

Kinga Kalocsai of GE Lighting said the new lighting will “emphasise the lines of force” of the bridge. “The light will reveal the tonalities in harmony with the architecture of the structure,” says Kalocsai.

GE said the flexibility of the lighting design will allow London officials to transform the bridge into a centrepiece for other celebrations and special events, such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and New Year’s Eve festivities.

GE and EDF are sponsors of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in the British capital next summer.

During the upcoming Olympic Games, GE will provide a large number of charging stations for a fleet of Olympic electric vehicles.

The LED lighting plan on London’s Tower Bridge was unveiled earlier this year when GE, along with London 2012 sustainability partner EDF Energy, entered 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 Tower Bridge.

The current lighting on the bridge consists of traditional, static flood-lighting.

Bathing Tower Bridge in eco-friendly light

Earlier this year, Johnson said he wanted London to look its very best in 2012 as the eyes of the world are upon the city.

“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,” he said.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic