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Eco-Friendly Ball for New Year’s Eve

This article was written by in Consumer. 7 comments.


Last night, my girlfriend and I, along with millions of other people, watched the “ball drop,” the traditional count down to the new year. I happened to catch Ryan Seacrest mention that the “ball” is all new this year, and those who manufactured the shining orb took a more eco-friendly approach. So I looked up the details.

The new “ball” measures six feet in diameter and is constructed with 9,576 colored and white LEDs as well as 672 crystals. The amount of energy consumed by the lighting is equivalent to the power used by 10 toasters.

the ballI learned some interesting things while reading about the New Year’s ball. For instance, the original ball consisted of 100 25-watt incandescent light bulbs and first descended in 1907. The act of dropping a ball to signify the passage of time dates back to 1833 in England. This ball would drop at one o’clock every afternoon to aid ship captains in navigation.

Despite this year’s energy savings there is still something about the celebration in New York that screams, “excess!” From what I can only imagine is Dick Clark’s artificial life extension to mediocre lip-sync acts, and from the television program which contains more advertising than content, to the bright, inefficient lights advertising brightly in Times Square, it just seems like the massive celebration is just a little over the top.

However, there has to be something said for brining people together in joy, anticipation, and optimism.

New York Rings in the New Year in an Eco-Friendly Fashion [International Facility Management Association]
Famouse New Year’s Eve ball now eco-friendly [AP]
New Year’s Eve – About the Ball [Times Square Alliance]

Updated June 20, 2014 and originally published January 1, 2008. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Patrick

I absolutely *loved* the 5 minute commercial break leading up to the ball dropping. The network brought the show back online exactly 2 minutes before the ball dropped.

Yes, it was 5 minutes, I timed it. Talk about maximizing revenue!

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avatar Kevin

My dad (an electrical engineer) and I joked about how little energy this really saved since the ball is turned on for about 2 minutes per year. I’m all for saving energy, but here they focused all their attention on the one device that probably accounts for the least energy consumption in the whole show. I bet if you ran the numbers they would have saved a lot more by turning off one TV camera, or one of the huge signs in Times Square, or one of Hannah Montana’s backup singers, or any number of things.

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