During the holiday season, our neighborhoods become whimsical wonderlands, each rooftop carefully lined in twinkling Christmas lights. It’s a festive, welcoming sight, and a staple of American holiday traditions. But in terms of energy efficiency Christmas lights are wasteful electricity vacuums. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that holiday lights uses over six terawatt hours per year, which is equal to the electricity consumption of 500,000 homes for one month. Luckily, the Department of Energy serves up these alarming numbers with a simple solution: LED lighting.
An LED bulb uses 80-90% less energy than an incandescent bulb. Many households have transitioned from standard incandescent lightbulbs in the home to LED bulbs, giving ceiling lights and lamps an energy efficient makeover, but with the holidays around the corner, it’s time to rethink your holiday decorations.
Although LED lights are more expensive than incandescent lights, they can lead to significant savings in that post-holiday utility bill. According to the Department of Energy, it would cost $10.00 to light a six-foot tall Christmas tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days using incandescent C-9 lights, and only $0.27 to using LED C-9 lights. For popular mini-lights, illuminating that tree for the same amount of time would cost $2.74 for incandescent bulbs and $0.82 for LED mini-lights. These figures may seem trivial, but over the years the savings add up. Plus, LED lights last much longer than incandescent lights. As long as you can keep strings of lights untangled, you could use the same set for 40 consecutive seasons!
LED lights are also safer and sturdier than incandescent lights. The bulbs stay cooler during use, which reduces the risk of fire–a serious concern when lights are strung on dry Christmas trees. LED light bulbs are made with epoxy lenses, not glass, so you’re less likely to shatter a bulb. Energy-efficient, long-lasting, cost effective, and safe–across the board, LED lights are a great option for a greener holiday.
One last tip–don’t throw away those old incandescent lights! Many state, city, and nonprofit organizations organize light recycling programs, like the Recycling Association of Minnesota’s Recycle Your Holidays, which gives Minnesota residents a responsible way to dispose of (and reuse!) unwanted lights.
Want more tips like this? Contact EnerChange for a free energy assessment to discover ways for your nonprofit organize to cut costs and reduce energy consumption.