Tuesday, December 23, 2014 will be the last night for the lights.

It is with such sadness to announce that this Tuesday, December 23rd, will be the last night for the Braintree Lights.  Over the last 10 years, we have continued to grow the display and even added multiple houses to the show.  The neighbors looked forward to getting the lights up and running and to see how animated it could be.  It was always fun to get a lift and drive it around seeing how high we can go.  It was a celebrated event to get the friends together for the “grand unveiling” each year.

 

In the same 10 years, our neighborhood grew from 10 houses to 25.  Unfortunately, over the past few weeks, the traffic has become such a problem; we have collectively decided to shut down the show.  For the most part, we have thousands of cars that come through weekly to enjoy the show, but the street can no longer handle the amount of traffic.  

 

Getting the light show ready starts in June.  In my garage, I start building new light features, programming the software, and testing last year’s strands.  After Halloween, the lights start going up.  It takes a month worth of weekends to get everything out onto the lawn and a few nights during the week double and triple checking each song.  What we are going to remember is that all of the work is worth it when we see the busses from retirement homes come by, or little kids getting out of their car to get their picture taken in front of one of the houses.  The last three years we even sold hot cocoa to benefit Prayers for Charlotte and raised more than $1,000 each year.  We won’t miss running around trying to find which plug is causing the GFCIs to trip, which shuts the lights off, but we did appreciate the challenge.

Feel free to contact me @ michael@braintreelights.com
 

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Enjoy the lights, but please be courteous!
  1. Please do not block driveways
  2. Please do not shine your headlights in the eyes of other vehicles
  3. Please do not play the music loud from your radio.  After a few days, those in the neighborhood have heard the songs hundreds of times!


 People often comment about the electric bill.   It does not go up that much, and not anywhere near other similar houses.  Here's why: 
  1. The computer sets all the lights at 80% of total power.  That is 20% energy savings.
  2. Not all lights are on all the time.  For example,  the mega-tree is only on for one song.  Having the lights be off for sections of the songs saves energy compared to being on from 5pm to 11pm at 100%. 
Take a look at the graphic below.  I have a whole house meter from my local electric company (BELD).  This meter lets me see in real time the energy used within the house.  The lights have been going on at 4:15pm and off at 11:00pm this season.  As you can see from the blue in the graphic, even with the lights, our energy use is below average.  (The spike around 7:00pm was the dinner oven)