It seems everyone is going green these days. This year, even the infamous ball in New York City that helps many of us ring in the New Year will also be “green.” Last month, the co-organizers of New Year’s Eve in Times Square unveiled a new Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball that is double the size of previous balls and weighs 11,875 pounds.
What makes the ball “green” is its 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDs, which is more than three times the number of LEDS used last year. So how can this ball be considered green, you might ask? This year’s ball is 10-20% more energy efficient than last year’s Ball, which was also considered efficient. To put things in perspective, this year’s ball will consume about the same amount of energy per hour as it would take to operate two traditional home ovens. Covered in 2,668 Waterford Crystals, this geodesic sphere is capable of displaying a palette of more than 16 million colors and billions of patterns.
In the past, the glowing ball was powered by incandescent light bulbs. The ball has changed pretty dramatically over the years, both in terms of lights and materials: The first New Year’s Eve Ball in 1907 was made of iron and wood and was adorned with one hundred 25-watt light bulbs. It was 5 feet in diameter and weighed 700 pounds. In 1920, a 400 pound ball made entirely of wrought iron replaced the original. In 1955, the iron ball was replaced with an aluminum ball that weighed only 200 pounds. In 1995, the Ball received an aluminum skin, rhinestones, strobes, and computer controls. The aluminum ball was lowered for the last time in 1998. Last year, on the 100th anniversary of the drop, the halogen and incandescent lights inside the ball were replaced by LEDs.
If you can’t make it to New York tonight, you can still see the Ball, since it will become a year-round attraction above Times Square. Whatever your plans, we hope you have a safe and Happy New Year.