This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

December 05, 2007

Rockefeller Center Switches to LED Christmas Lights

For residents and for visitors from throughout the world, the holiday season in New York City has to include a visit to Rockefeller Center to see its impressive outdoor Christmas tree. But this year, the Big Apple is a bit greener, as the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is lit with LED lights. The tree's 30,000 LED lights are strung on five miles of wire and will reduce the tree's energy consumption by about 63%. LED (light-emitting diode) lights are now popping up in holiday lighting displays throughout the country, and they're an excellent choice at home as well. According to the latest holiday lighting fact sheet from the EnergyIdeas Clearinghouse, LED mini-lights draw about 0.08 watts per bulb, compared to 0.48 watts for a standard incandescent mini-light and 6 watts for the larger traditional screw-in bulbs. See the fact sheet (PDF 178 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

For Rockefeller Center, though, the Christmas tree is just the most visible aspect to an energy efficient makeover. Up on the rooftop of 35 Rockefeller Plaza is ... no, it's not Santa Claus, it's a new 70-kilowatt solar power system, using 363 solar panels provided by GE Energy. And any airborne sleighs will have to avoid landing on Radio City Music Hall, because it now sports an 18,000-square-foot green roof (does that mean the Rockettes won't get their presents this year?). The green roof, consisting of desert plants that require little water, will have a cooling effect on midtown Manhattan and will keep more than half a million gallons of water out of New York's storm water and wastewater system. And last but not least, a new ice making and storage plant will make ice at night, when energy demand is low, and use it for cooling Rockefeller Center during the day. So even when the skating rink closes for the year, there will still be ice at Rockefeller Center! See the press releases from Mayor Michael Bloomberg and GE Energy.