How the National Christmas Tree Lighting Became More Eco-Friendly

The 94th annual event, also known as the Pageant of Peace Ceremony, incorporated sustainable elements into the tree’s design.

By Carla Hay December 9, 2016, 7:15 AM EST

Photo: T. Heilemann/U.S. Department of the Interior

Alongside the stars and sugar plum ornaments, this year’s National Christmas Tree featured some additional “greenery": LED lights that made for a more eco-friendly tree.

According to the National Park Service, the lighting design includes about 310 LED white micro-style lights and 350 red, white, and blue LED string sets—all Energy Star-qualified. Overall the tree has 80,000 lights that use 7,500 watts of power. The public saw the results at the National Christmas Tree Lighting event on December 1 at the White House's Ellipse at Presidents Park. General Electric's GE Lighting provided and designed the tree's lighting along with event production company Hargrove. The 30-foot-tall Colorado blue spruce from Virginia was decked with some 300 recycled star ornaments from last year’s tree. The tree had a theme to reflect conservation, creativity, and a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the park service.

“We incorporated recycled star ornaments that shine a cool white to complement the sugar plum lights,” said Hargrove's Jennifer Diamond Haber. “The ornaments are hung to appear as though they are cascading down the tree, creating the feeling of a falling star. In addition, the star-shaped tree topper is also an heirloom design to complement this year’s theme.”

The First Family attended the event, which was hosted by Eva Longoria. AEG Worldwide's Bounce AEG booked the show's performers and other celebrities, who included Kelly Clarkson, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Yolanda Adams, James Taylor, Marc Anthony, Simone Manuel, the Lumineers, and Chance the Rapper. On Monday, the Hallmark Channel televised the event, which can also be viewed on the event's website.

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