Greenest national Christmas tree ever?

Greenest national Christmas tree ever?

Summary: This year, the National Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C., will sparkle using 80 percent less energy in the past, thanks to thousands of GE LED lights and a retrofitted illuminated star on top.

TOPICS: Emerging Tech

One of my husband's long-time friends decorates his house and yard with an obscene display of lights every year - not obscene in the sense that they're not suitable for family viewing, but because of the amount of power that they consume.

His bill electric bill literally quadruples for the month - the meter spins so fast that it you can see the consumption racking up in real time. Cars line up to view his house for weeks leading up to Christmas.

Since I've been writing this column, much attention has been focused each year on how to make holiday displays like this more efficient. Last year, Woodstock, N.Y., lit up a solar Menorah, while a number of companies have touted the virtues of switching from incandescent to LED lighting strands.

Even the White House is getting into the act: this year, the National Christmas Tree has been lit up with thousands of LED lights that consume about 80 percent less energy than the technology used in the past.

How much less? Try 4,000 watts for the latest LEDs compared with five times that (20,000 watts) for incandescent technology.

This year's tree officially lit up earlier this week uses 450 strands of LED lights and 120 start-shaped LED ornaments that will keep the tree sparkling both day and night. The heirloom tree topper adorning the top has been retrofitted with a commercial grade GE TetraMAX system traditionally used for commercial signage applications.

Topic: Emerging Tech

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  • LEDs will take over everything.

    While the Washington DC Christmas tree looks like a good PR stunt from GE, it would be crazy to attempt something like that with hot-burning incandescent globes.

    LEDs keep getting substantially more effiecient each year. I expect LEDs to take over all household lighting during the next decade.

    Other interesting companies in the LED business are Cree, Nichia, Epistar, Everlight, Seoul Semiconducter, Osram and Philips Lumileds.
  • If I lived next door to you

    I'd smother my house in Christams lights, too, just to tick you off. Your neighbor buys his electricity, he doesn't make you pay for it, and, since plant food is the primary byproduct of burning fossil fuels, he's helping plant life. Meanwhile, you'll waste my money on asinine LED technology that costs twenty times what you saved in electric costs to solve a problem (energy shortages) you helped create