GE Uses LEDs for Energy-smart Holiday Tree

GE Consumer & Industrial won't just be trimming the National Christmas Tree, it will be trimming the nation's energy bill, too, with the most energy-efficient holiday display in national history.

Lit almost entirely by light-emitting diodes called LEDs, the 2008 National Christmas Tree display will be 50 percent more energy efficient than last year's display. While LEDs were used on the National Tree for the first time in 2007 at the request of the White House, this year's display saves even more energy by eliminating the lighted garland and making use of smaller, lighter-weight ornaments. This year all 56 U.S. state and territory trees will be powered by LED lights (more than 360 strings of clear C5s) donated by GE.

"LEDs have become the cool, new technology in lighting, and with good reason," said Kathy Presciano, designer of the National Christmas Tree and lighting designer for GE. "They use a fraction of the energy, and they last 10 times as long as a traditional incandescent light. They worked so well for last year's National Tree, this year we decided to expand them to the state trees, too," Presciano said.

This year's National Tree will carry more than 37,000 individual LED lights, including the topper and the background lights. The 42-inch tall, star-shaped tree topper is an "heirloom" topper used for the last two years. It is outfitted with industrial grade, white GE Tetra® LEDs. As many as 680, 50-light strings of clear, C5 LEDs will provide a dazzling backdrop to the tree. Each string costs only 14 cents to run for a full four-week holiday season.

GE has been designing the National Christmas Tree since 1962, producing and donating the lighting and decorations. Presciano has personally designed every tree since 1995. The lighting of the National Christmas Tree is an unbroken tradition that began in 1923 when Calvin Coolidge lit the first tree on the Ellipse. The event is sponsored by the National Park Foundation, official charitable partner of America's National Parks, and the National Park Service.