2009 National Christmas Tree “Brightest” Yet
This year, GE Consumer and Industrial has created America’s first National Christmas Tree outfitted from top to bottom with energy-saving LED technology, including many light strings and ornaments used on previous year’s trees. Inspired by the efforts of American families to reduce, reuse and recycle, the tree is the most energy-efficient tree in history – consuming only 6,000 watts of energy, compared to 18,000 watts on last year’s tree and an average of 40,000 watts on national trees in the traditional, all-incandescent light era.
The wattage reduction was possible because GE has, for the last three years, been gradually trimming the tree with more LED (light emitting diode) lighting, which is powered by tiny computer chips and has up to 20 times the life of traditional incandescent lighting. Since they last so much longer, the company was able to reuse more than half the LED light strings from previous year’s trees. They also retrofitted ornaments from previous years with new LED light strands.
“Recycling and reusing LED lights and ornaments from past designs was the smart thing to do, particularly in today’s economy, in which Americans across our nation are becoming more energy conscious,” says Mary Beth Gotti, manager of the GE Lighting & Electrical Institute. “The brightness and variety of the LEDs has improved so much that for the first time, we’re able to incorporate them so broadly in the design.”
A star-studded holiday
Although this year’s tree design will use considerably less energy, it will shine brightly with more lights than ever before. It will feature 750 Energy Starrated strings of white LED lights, half that are C5 LED lights recycled from last year and half that are LED crystal minis – a new product that will help give the lighting a three-dimensional look. Each string of LED lights only costs about 14 cents to run for the entire holiday season. The heirloom topper – a 42-inch star illuminated with industrial-grade white GE Tetra® LEDs – that has graced the National Christmas Tree for the past three years, will again make an appearance.
The ornaments all come from the tree’s recent history: 42 gold 12-inch stars from 2008; 42 white 15-inch and 20-inch stars from 2004; and 54 red and gold 18-inch, 24-inch and 30-inch starbursts from 1998.
To add more visual interest, the 56 state and territory trees will be adorned with a combination of C5 LED lights from last year and new LED pearl lights. While GE provides the background lights, teams from each state provide ornaments for the state trees.
“LEDs are quickly becoming the people’s choice, and for good reason. They’re more durable, and reduce energy usage by about 80 percent over traditional incandescent bulbs. The energy efficient lighting on the National Christmas Tree is symbolic of what’s going on in homes across the nation,” Gotti says.
GE has been designing the National Christmas Tree since
1962, producing and donating the lighting and decorations.
To Catholic Mission