EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — December 6, 2012 — (NYSE:GE) — In December 1923, America stood by as the National Christmas Tree in Washington D.C. was lit for the first time. Ninety years and several generations later, the event tonight promises to capture the magic of the first lighting with one major difference: the tree’s light-emitting diode (LED) lighting shines as bright as ever but consumes 80 percent less energy (4,000 watts vs. about 20,000 watts) compared with incandescent technology. This year, GE Lighting marks its 50th year of lighting the National Tree.
“Our design this year pays tribute to the first National Christmas Tree while underscoring the transformational power of LEDs,” says John Strainic, general manager of consumer lighting for GE Lighting. “We encourage consumers who love the robustness, long life and energy cost savings of LED holiday lights to explore what LEDs can do in other rooms and applications throughout the year.”
When this year’s National Christmas Tree is illuminated, it will glimmer with thousands of LED lights, including 450 strands of LED lights and 120 star-shaped LED ornaments adorned with a gold metallic finish, a feature that will make the tree sparkle not just at night, but all day long. To commemorate the first tree lighting nine decades ago, an heirloom topper design will be outfitted for greater efficiency, longer life and brighter light output using a commercial-grade GE Tetra®MAX LED system that’s typically used in commercial signage.
In addition to the National Christmas Tree, 56 smaller trees surrounding it will be illuminated with GE LED lights—one for every state and U.S. territory. Each will sparkle with red, green and white lights in tribute to the original National Tree.
Watch the National Tree lighting as it happens
GE Lighting and the National Park Foundation invite families to watch a live stream broadcast at 4:30 p.m. on http://www.thenationaltree.org/.
Where did LEDs come from?
Just over 50 years ago—Oct. 9, 1962—GE scientist Dr. Nick Holonyak, Jr., invented the first practical visible-spectrum light-emitting diode (LED). In the 50 years since, GE has been on the forefront of LED innovation. The company has released inspired LED products for both residential and commercial settings, from the first ENERGY STAR®-qualified A19-shaped LED bulb to LED street lighting that illuminates cityscapes the world over.
About GE Lighting
GE Lighting invents with the vigor of its founder Thomas Edison to develop energy-efficient solutions that change the way people light their world in commercial, industrial, municipal and residential settings. The business employs over 16,000 people in more than 100 countries, and sells products under the Reveal® and Energy Smart® consumer brands, and Evolve™, GTx™, Immersion™, Infusion™, Lumination™ and Tetra® commercial brands, all trademarks of GE. General Electric (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter to build a world that works better. For more information, visit www.gelighting.com.