Riverside, Calif. – Twenty years ago when the first Festival of Lights Celebration took place over the holiday season in downtown Riverside, lighting technologies had not changed much from what was used to illuminate houses and storefronts for generations.
Only in the past few years has holiday lighting evolved to use new technologies that provide stunning displays of light and color, while being extremely energy efficient.
It is this type of lighting technology that Riverside Public Utilities wanted to bring to the forefront of its sponsorship of this year’s annual downtown holiday celebration. “We wanted to help make this 20th edition of the Festival of Lights memorable for residents and visitors,” said RPU General Manager David H. Wright. “However, we wanted to do it in a way that would also educate everyone about how these amazing lights use just a fraction of energy that conventional lighting methods use.”
Among the displays that RPU had installed included permanent light emitting diode (LED) systems that bathe the 9th Street side of City Hall in various colors. This state-of-the-art system uses only 600 watts of electricity, compared to 21,000 watts that would be needed to light the same area with conventional bulbs, amounting to first-year energy savings of more than $16,000.
Decorative “snowfall” lighting enhancements on trees along Main Street use a new technology that requires only 2.5 watts per strand of five lights. All of these new lights combined only use the energy that one 60 watt bulb would use.
Energy efficient LEDs were also used to help light up the Loring Building’s corner façade and to replace the tree shaped lighting design on the side of the California Tower building. LEDs also light up a unique, new holiday tree sculpture located on Main Street at University Avenue. The 32-foot tree display, the largest of its kind in California, was made by an Oregon display company which used 80 percent recycled steel in its construction.
RPU will continue to promote new lighting technologies and sustainable community practices throughout the 20th Annual Festival of Lights Celebration by handing out free compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) each weekend along with free Go Green reusable shopping bags. For additional information on the Festival of Lights Celebration going on now through January 5, 2013, visit www.RiversideCA.gov/FOL