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Dreaming of a Green Christmas: LED Technology Keeps Holiday Spirits High and Energy Bills Low

New York, Nov 28, 2007

Two million kilowatt hours of electricity – that is enough to power two hundred homes for a year. But it is also the staggering amount of electricity consumed annually by the miniature holiday lights that decorate American homes.

In an effort to conserve energy, many of the nation’s iconic Christmas trees have made the switch from traditional incandescent bulbs to light emitting diode (LED) technology. The U.S. Capitol tree began using LEDs in 2005, and this year, the trees at Rockefeller Center and the White House will be decorated with LEDs for the first time.

A standard from Underwriters Laboratories, an ANSI member and accredited standards developer, discusses the specific application of LED technologies to seasonal and holiday decorative products. UL 588 (Ed. 18) establishes requirements for factory-assembled, temporary-use decorative lighting products with a maximum input rating of 120 volts to be used in accordance with the National Electrical Code, ANSI/NFPA 70.

Did You Know?

The world’s tallest living Christmas tree in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, began the use of LEDs in 2006.

Organizers of the Coeur d’Alene Holiday Light Show estimate that their thirty thousand LEDs consume the same amount of power as twenty-one average household light bulbs.

Source: Coeur d’Alene Resort
To help explain the complexities of LED sources and systems, ANSI member and accredited standards developer the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) has authored a technical memorandum. IESNA TM-16-05 offers a brief history of LED technology, as well as a discussion of basic characteristics, components, and applications.

LEDs can be produced in a wide array of colors, including the traditional clear and multi-colored holiday offerings. ANSI/TIA 455-126-2000, an American National Standard from the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), helps produce these colors by characterizing the spectral qualities of the diodes, including central wavelength, peak wavelength, and spectral width.

LED technology is not the only component of this season’s greening of Rockefeller Center. Three hundred sixty-three solar panels have been installed on the roof of 45 Rockefeller Plaza, helping to reduce peak electrical demand. After the holiday season, the tree will be milled, treated, and donated to Habitat for Humanity for use in their building programs.

For more information about tonight’s Rockefeller Center tree lighting ceremony, visit

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