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New Bigger, Flashier Times Square Ball is Powered by LEDs


There’s no amount of money that could convince me to spend New Year’s Eve in Times Square, but even I have to admit that this year’s Ball is innovative. The new Ball, which weighs 11,875 pounds and is double the size of previous Balls, will light up with help from 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDs.

The LEDs create billions of patterns, 16 million colors, and make the Ball 10 to 20 percent more energy efficient than last year. Skeptics may try to point out that that doesn’t make the showy orb truly energy efficient, but they’re wrong— it consumes the same amount of energy per hour as two traditional home ovens.

Times Square will also feature a slightly less exciting green element this year: a people-powered 2009 sign. Revelers can already pedal on bicycles in Duracell’s Times Square “power lodge” to generate energy for the sign.

According to organizers, 95 pedal hours have been stored thus far. 230 hours are necessary to power the sign for 10 to 15 minutes. Clearly, the “power lodge” is designed more to create energy awareness than to actually make a difference— but considering how many people have their eyes on Times Square come January 1, maybe it’s not such a bad idea.

Photo Credit: Times Square Alliance

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was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.


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