NYC, DC, LA, Houston: Lighting Up the Holidays with LED Christmas Trees
Cities across the United States are lighting their Christmas Trees, and this season they are more energy-efficient than ever. Check out the nation's biggest, most energy-efficient holiday trees below, and read our energy-efficient holiday lighting tips here!
Washington, DC: US National Tree
The 35-foot National Christmas Tree is designed with just under 50,000 sets of programmed, color-changing LED lights and starburst ornaments, yet only uses 2,000 watts. GE, which has been lighting the National tree for 50 years, started using energy-efficient LEDs in 2007. These LEDs – which are 80% more energy efficient than the old incandescent bulbs that used to drape the tree – save 100kWh per day and $340 in total across the holiday season.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama lit the National Christmas Tree on Dec. 6, and it will stay lit through Jan. 1. In addition to the National Christmas Tree, Washington displays another holiday tree covered in LEDs: The Capitol Christmas Tree sits in front of the Capitol building; it was lit on Dec. 4, and it will stay lit through Dec. 26.
Photo of National Christmas Tree, above and right: Credit Paul Morigi.
New York City: Rockefeller Center
Since 2007, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has been lit exclusively with LEDs. This year’s 80-foot Norway Spruce is decorated with more than 30,000 multi-colored LEDs and crowned by a 550-pound crystal Swarovski star, which sparkles with 700 of the tree’s LEDs.
By switching to eco-friendly lighting, Rockefeller Center decreased the tree’s daily energy consumption from a massive 3,510 kWh per day to 1,297 kWh per day. Solar panels on one of the Rockefeller buildings help power the LEDs.
The Rockefeller Christmas Tree was lit Nov. 28, 2012, and will stay lit through Jan. 7, 2013.
Photo of Rockefeller Christmas Tree: Courtesy Tishman Speyer. Photographer: Gregory Scaffidi.
Los Angeles Christmas Tree: L.A. LIVE
This year, Los Angeles is home to a 66-foot-tall artificial tree that soars six stories above downtown LA. The tree features over 120,000 warm-white LED mini lights that turn on at dusk. Gold and silver ornaments that range in size from baseballs to basketballs gild the 1,000 tree branches. These LED lights only use 12,000 watts, which is 80% less than the 60,000 watts that the tree's previous incandescent lights used.
The L.A. LIVE Christmas tree was lit Nov. 28, and will stay lit through Jan. 2.
Houston Christmas Tree
Photo of Houston Christmas Tree: Courtesy of the City of Houston.
A 63-foot-tall white fir tree at Houston’s City Hall features LEDs by Reliant Energy (an NRG Company). Using LED lights exclusively for four years, this year’s tree is decked out in over 3,000 LEDs. These bulbs reduce energy use from 20kWh to less than 1 kW per hour, saving more than 19kW per hour. Because these LEDs last for about 10 years, the city is able to reuse the lights each year. After the tree is taken down, the city recycles the tree into mulch for public gardens and community spaces, and encourages its citizens to do the same with their trees.
The Houston Holiday Tree was lit on Nov. 30, along with a Motown concert. It will stay lit through Dec. 25.
YOUR Christmas Tree
A decade after the first red-and-white LED Christmas lights came out, LEDs are now brighter and available in bold colors –most with a variety of blinking options. Compared with traditional incandescent Christmas lights, LEDs last up to 10 times longer, use 90% less electricity (costing less than a dollar per season to operate), and have a host of other advantages.
Want to learn more? Read our energy-efficient holiday lighting tips!
Alliance Marketing Intern Ashley Paulsworth contributed to this article.