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The First Super Bowl Played Under LEDs Will Use 75 Percent Less Power

It might seem like LED bulbs are only for early-adopters hoping to cut down their monthly Con Ed power bill, but come Sunday, the energy-efficient lighting alternative will take center stage at one of the greatest spectacles on Earth. This will actually be the first Super Bowl to be entirely lit by LED bulbs.

The University of Phoenix Stadium, where the big game is being played, recently upgraded over 780 metal halide fixtures with 44,928 Cree XLamp MK-R LEDs, courtesy of Cree and Ephesus Lighting. And while it sounds like the new setup would draw far more power, it turns out those LED fixtures need a mere 310,000 watts of power to glow, compared to the 1.24 million watts required by the metal halide bulbs.


But power saving isn't the only benefit to the stadium's new energy-efficient lighting. The LED fixtures also produce nearly double the illumination of the old metal halide bulbs, and run at full intensity as soon as they're switched on. If you remember the infamous Super Bowl blackout from a few years ago, it takes almost 20 minutes for metal halide bulbs to warm up and reach their full intensity.

The bulbs also promise more life-like and uniform lighting during the big game as a result of the LEDs shining overhead, reducing shadows which helps both players on the field, and the fans watching at home, follow the action. And more light makes it easier for high-speed cameras to capture high-quality images, because what's a football game without those breathtaking slow-motion instant replays?

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Arggh! there goes a...snake a snake!

Aside from the environmental reasons, I'd love to replace all my bulbs with some LED ones. The only problem is that right now the price is like 5-10x as much as CFLs and incandescents. I'm assuming that price will come down over time though but for now it seems like the return of investment is not there yet.