Lighting up the landmarks: how much does it cost and other facts you didn't know

21st June 2022

Lighting up the landmarks: how much does it cost and other facts you didn't know

There are many famous landmarks that light up cities and skylines all over the world, but have you ever wondered how much it costs to keep this infrastructure fully illuminated? We take a look at the which of these landmarks has the biggest electricity bill.

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The Las Vegas Strip

The most expensive landmark of all, is the world-famous Las Vegas Strip, requiring a massive £350.4 million in lighting costs alone every year. To power this iconic section of this iconic city even for just one day costs £960,000.

Las Vegas has been proven to be the brightest city on earth from space at night, and that is thanks to its estimated 12 million lightbulbs just on the Las Vegas Strip. According to Business Insider¹, the Las Vegas Strip consumes 8000 megawatts of electricity per day, and the MGM Hotel at the heart of the Strip, has a monthly electricity bill of $100,000.

There is a very specific reason why the Las Vegas Strip shines so brightly, as studies have shown that excessive bright lighting keeps the patrons of Las Vegas’ many casinos more engaged for longer periods of time.

Steps have been taken to make the Las Vegas Strip’s massive lighting setup more energy efficient, including using LED bulbs and installing solar panels in certain areas.


The Empire State Building

New York City is full of landmarks that make a shining statement, and while Times Square and the Statue of Liberty follow closely behind, the New York City landmark that shines the brightest is the Empire State Building.

Even though the Empire State Building has significantly less lights than the Las Vegas Strip at just 68,000, the building still racks up a very high energy bill at just over £8.3 million.

Just like other famous landmarks, the Empire State Building will be illuminated in different colours to commemorate certain events, including internationally recognised events such as Easter, charitable causes like Comic Relief, and even more whimsical occasions such as the 25th anniversary of the children’s television series, Teletubbies.

This tradition received an upgrade in 2012, when the original coloured lighting system was replaced with a new LED system that is capable of creating a staggering 16 million different colour combinations.


Sydney Opera House

On the other side of the world to the previous two extravagant illuminations, is the Sydney Opera House. Boasting 15,500 lightbulbs and a nearly £1.5 million annual electricity cost, the lights that adorn the Sydney Opera House are often more of a cultural significance than a display of pure aesthetics.

The land in which the Sydney Opera House is located, Bennelong Point, is a historic gathering place for the First Nations people of Australia. So in 2021, for the Opera House’s annual Lighting of the Sails event, the iconic sails of the Opera House displayed a tribute to these first Nations people through the medium of lighting.


Buckingham Palace

Arguably one of the most recognisable buildings in the UK, the combined number of lights within both the interior and exterior of Buckingham Palace sits at 40,000.

Just like the Empire State Building and the Sydney Opera House, on certain occasions, Buckingham Palace creates lighting displays around a theme, whether it be for one of the royal family’s many charitable efforts, or raising awareness for pressing social issues.

One of the more controversial contributing factors to the £1.1 million electricity bill that Buckingham Palace racks up every year, was the introduction of the palace being lit up at night between sunset and 11pm in 2007. This scheme is to last until the end of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, and prominent environmental activist organisation Greenpeace were extremely vocal about their concerns regarding the effect that this new tradition would have on the climate.

However, the 59 LED lights supplied to Buckingham Palace by world famous lighting brand Philips were designed to be environmentally friendly and energy efficient.



These famous landmarks often go to the extreme in all aspects of their infrastructure, and lighting is no exception. At ElectricalDirect, we offer a range of interior and exterior lighting to accommodate for any commercial or domestic project, you can shop the range here.








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