Monday, December 06, 2010

LED Christmas Lights Keep the Holiday Green

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden has adopted them. Many commercial buildings and malls have followed suit. This year may be the right time for you to consider replacing your decorative holiday lights with energy efficient LEDs. Doing so will save energy, reduce your electric bill and, over time, save you some hard cash.

We might overlook these strings of colored lights as a major source of energy waste. The small glass lamps individually consume only a small amount of electricity. The problem is that we don’t often use just one or two bulbs, but attach hundreds on long strings. If you are of my generation, you remember when strings of lights on trees were made up of large bulbs similar to the ones used in night lights and other small appliances. These are called C-9 bulbs. So when the mini lights came out we thought we were already saving energy. It is true that the mini lights consume only about ½ watt of power for each bulb compared to 3 to 5 watts each for the larger C-9 bulbs. Nevertheless, when compared to the efficiency of LED bulbs, even these mini lights are power gluttons.

The standard LED holiday lights consume about 15% of the power used by traditional incandescent mini lights. This not only saves money, but allows you to safely string many more lights in outdoor displays without the need for extra extension cords and power outlets.

When LED lights first came out some people did not like the fact that the light was a “bluish white” rather than the traditional soft white of a candle. Manufactures have made some great improvements and have lights that appear very much like the traditional warm mini lights.

The initial cost of LED lights compared to incandescent mini lights can be significant, as much as double, so you will not save dollars in the first few years of using them. But, since they are much more durable than mini lights and will last up to 10x longer, there will be savings down the road.

So, this year when you are untangling that green mess and trying to find which one of the bulbs is bad and keeping the entire string from lighting up, save yourself some holiday hassle and extend your “green” Christmas beyond the tree in the family room by investing in LED lights.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home