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Lee’s Landmarks – Blackpool Tower, Eden Project, London Eye

If you find that organising electrical jobs at your workplace can be hard work at times, imagine the challenges that those running major landmarks have to face. Here, we look at some of the awe-inspiring stats of three familiar landmarks.

The Blackpool Tower

An iconic landmark along the Golden Mile in one of Britain’s best-known beach resorts, the Blackpool Tower first opened to the public on 14 May 1894.

Essential stats:

Grade One Listed Building

Height: 158m 11cm (518ft 9”) to the top of the flagpole

Paint required to cover the whole Tower: nine tonnes

Number of bricks in the Tower buildings: five million

Metal in the Tower: 2,493 tonnes of steel and 93 tonnes of cast iron

Electric facts:

Until 1924, the Blackpool Tower generated its own electricity. For many years it was lit up by 10,000 pygmy light bulbs but, as part of a two-year refurbishment project running from 2011-2013, these were replaced by 5,508 LED lights, each containing 42 individual LEDs – a total of around 30,000 LEDs.

This included the addition of a 9m (29ft)- wide heart made up of 900 programmable LEDs, which was installed around a quarter of the way up the Tower. Organisations and individuals can apply to have the Tower lit up in their colours or for messages to be created on the heart, for example birthday and wedding announcements.

The new lighting cost around £250,000 to install, but the energy-efficient LEDs are significantly cheaper than running traditional bulbs.


London Eye

Opened on 1 February 2000, the Coca- Cola London Eye is the world’s largest cantilevered observation wheel, with 32 capsules, one for each London borough.

Essential stats:

Height: 135m (443ft)

Visitor capacity per rotation: 800

Distance viewed from the top: around 40km (over 24 miles) on a clear day

Steel used in construction: around 1,7000 tonnes

Weight of wheel and capsules combined: 2,100 tonnes, the equivalent of 1,272 London black cabs

Electric facts:

Like the Blackpool Tower, the London Eye has converted to LED lighting, saving 69% of the energy previously used to light it up.

In May of this year, the lights were used for a number of election-related displays. One of these, an installation conceived by artists Bompas & Parr, involved taking statistics from Facebook about how often each party was being discussed and lighting the wheel in blocks with the colours of the different parties based on these statistics.


Eden Project

Comprising massive Biomes that house the largest rainforest in captivity, the Eden Project opened in Cornwall on 17 March 2001. Run as an educational charity, the Eden Project aims to connect people with the living world and with each other.

Essential stats:

Number of different rainforest plant species: 1,000

Amount of compost created annually (2013-14): 150 tonnes

Number of visitors in the first three months: over a million

Number of visitors in the first 10 years: almost 13 million

Annual school visitors (2013-14): 42,477 students in 827 visits

Electric facts:

The charity works hard to keep its carbon emissions to a minimum through a number of initiatives, including using natural lighting where possible, regulating temperatures to manage energy use and generating its own energy from photovoltaic panels and a 5kW wind turbine.

Money is currently being raised to build a 3-4MW onsite geothermal power plant, taking energy from the heat in underground granite rocks, which would produce enough power for the Eden Project and around 4,000 houses in the area.

Originally, the high-level lighting in the Core was provided by metal halide luminaires, with reflectors that radiated light on to
the exhibit space. These have now been replaced with the latest LED projector lamps and there are plans to roll these out across other parts of the site, including the Biomes.

As well as consuming significantly less electricity, saving the site over £3,000 a year on its energy bills, the LEDs are longer lasting, which saves on maintenance expenses as the ceiling heights require specialist access equipment.


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