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.
I 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 December 20, 2011 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.