Vail’s light displays will be energy-efficient |

Vail’s light displays will be energy-efficient

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado
NWS Lights 01 TS 11-12-08

VAIL ” On Nov. 26, Vail, Colorado’s streets, roundabouts and trees will light up with the town’s annual holiday light display ” and this year, the show will use less energy.

Vail will be using more efficient LED ” light-emitting diode ” lights this year for all of its holiday decorations. The LED lights are estimated to use 75 to 80 percent less energy than the incandescent lights used in previous years.

Since mid-September, town crews have been stringing more than 25 miles of the lights in the main roundabouts, on the parking garages, on the pedestrian bridge and in the ski villages.

It’s a job that takes more than two months with a crew of six to 10 workers, said Vail Street Superintendent Charlie Turnbull.

Also, the town’s Public Works Department is hanging more than two miles of garland and 230 wreaths.

The town experimented with the LED lights last year on a few trees before switching over this year.

“We wanted to be sure the lights could withstand harsh weather conditions as well as our aesthetic needs, and they held up well,” Turnbull said. “After that, the decision was easy.”

While the lights are more expensive that standard ones, the LEDs will pay off in the long-run, said Leo Vasquez, the town’s electrical supervisor.

The energy-efficient lights are not only more hardy and easier to put up, but the bulbs are supposed to last about 200,000 hours.

“We’re going to save considerably,” Vasquez said. “There’s payoff within a year. We used to just get rid of the lights after two years. These will probably last 10 years.”

Several of the town’s biggest trees, which usually are decked out with lights, will remain dark this year to allow the trees to recover from the weight of annual decorations.

“It’s not a huge deal, but the lights are wound really tightly, and they can be kind of heavy and restrict growth,” said Kristen Bertuglia, the town’s environmental sustainability coordinator. “We’re kind of letting them fluff up for a bit.”

Visitors and residents won’t be disappointed with the display, Turnbull said.

“I’ve seen a preview, and these lights will sparkle,” he said.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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