PARIS – After years of being lit by costly xenon lighting, the centuries-old Louvre will be relighted with environmentally-friendly LED lights furnished by Toshiba. The Japanese electronics company teamed up with the French museum in 2010 to outfit the Louvre with the latest in illuminating technology. A ceremony on December 6, 2011 will inaugurate the new lights in the Pavillon Colbert as well as I.M. Pei’s glass pyramid.
The City of Light, in addition to being a center of the Enlightenment movement, earned its name in part when Louis XIV first introduced gas-powered streetlamps to the French capital. With the introduction of electricity, buildings like the Opera Garnier and the Arc de Triomphe were soon illuminated by the early 20th century most notably by Italian engineer Fernand Jacopozzi. Now, with a gradual phasing out of incandescent and eventual halogen bulbs in the European Union started in 2009, French engineers are looking to new alternatives for lighting Paris’s iconic streets and buildings.
Eco-friendly LED lighting has become the trend in Paris within the past few years. Similar lighting systems are already in place on the Tour Montparnasse skyscraper as of 2010 and on the Champs Elysées during the holiday season. The first installment of the Louvre’s renovations will be unveiled in December while work continues through 2013 on the rest of the museum, according to press agent Juliette Jacovidis.
“In the framework of the partnership developed with the museum, Toshiba developed LED prototypes that maintain the visual aspects of the monument,” she said.
Toshiba proposed the luminous renovations to the Louvre in 2010, vowing to replace the old lighting with environmentally-friendly LED lights. A total of 3200 LED lights will replace the 4500 xenon bulbs by the time the relighting is finished. They will cut electricity consumption by 73% from 392,000 watts to 105,000 watts annually.
There are no other projects scheduled between Toshiba and Paris at the moment, Jacovidis said. Work on the remaining lighting installments on the Louvre is projected to be completed by 2013.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com