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>  News Releases >   2007 >   December

Dartmouth's Christmas tree is both green and "green"

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 12/19/07 • Susan Knapp • (603) 646-3661

Dartmouth's 2007 Christmas tree
Dartmouth's 2007 Christmas tree (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

They shine in many colors, but the lights on Dartmouth's 35-foot-tall blue spruce Christmas tree are all truly "green" this year, as they draw 90 percent less energy than the standard incandescent tree lights. Thanks to the Department of Facilities Operation and Management, new energy efficient LED (light-emitting diode) lights provide the festive sparkle this year.

Placed in the middle of the Dartmouth Green, the tree shines throughout the month of December, and it is lit for about 16 hours a day, from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m., says John Gratiot, the associate vice president of FO&M. He explains that this year's tree is bigger than last year's, so more lights were needed, but it still draws far less energy than last year's tree.

"We are actually lighting more lights on a bigger tree for just 10 percent of the power had we used the old incandescent bulbs," he says. "I have heard a number of comments from folks on campus that the new lights have much more intense colors, and people think they are great."

Gratiot's department continues its efforts to conserve energy all over campus. He and his team have asked students and employees to dress warmer so thermostats can be set at 68 degrees Fahrenheit instead of 72. FO&M staff members are changing lights to more efficient fluorescent lighting throughout campus, and during the break from Dec. 22 through Jan. 1, they will turn the heat down in unoccupied buildings to reduce energy use.

FO&M has also changed the green lights in Baker Tower, used when the Trustees are in town, to LED lights. They are also pursuing a few less visible initiatives, like converting motors on air handling systems and pumps with variable speed drives to reduce the energy required to run the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.

"The new LED Christmas tree lights are just the latest example of how we try to lessen our environmental impact, save money, and be more energy efficient each year," says Gratiot.

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