Zilker Christmas Tree – how Green?


Austin\’s longstanding icon of holiday cheer was lit up again recently for the season; and when stopping by to show a friend the joys of spinning under the lights, the reality of how much energy is used hit me!

I\’m looking into the facts (via Austin Energy) to see if they match my intuition and figure out what the real energy usage is. I want to figure out what the savings might be if the incandescent bulbs were switched to LED lights.

It seems I\’ve seen fewer lights on homes this year, and perhaps that is due to the awareness that the traditional strands burn lots of energy.  This is a tough one for me, because I\’ve always loved the twinkly lights.  Maybe we should start a contest for who can create the most striking display with the fewest strands, or the best power conservation.

(Note: if you do have holiday lights, put them on a timer so they are only on for a few hours in the evening, while you area wake and when most people will drive by and see them!)

Want to help me green the tree?  Leave a comment!


  1. Billy Oxford on December 12, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Achieving energy savings by switching to LEDs would be great, but how about eliminating carbon emissions altogether by switching to a combination of solar power and LEDs?

    See http://planetgreen.discovery.com/home-garden/holiday-tips-solar-cells.html

    or http://www.solarsanta.com


  2. Kathleen Strong on January 2, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    It’s unfortunate that so many people take their private cars rather than riding the buses to see the tree. How to make the buses a more appealing option? Have local celebraties ride on some of the buses? Have musicians playing or leading songs on the bus? (e.g., “Hey, look, there’s Marcia Ball on this bus.”) Have some kind of gift or reward for bus riders? While these particular suggestions may not be practical, there must be some way to make riding the bus to see the tree a more fun option than cars.

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