Christmas is one of the most energy-consuming times of year for homes. Before you untangle those bulky, traditional bulbs again, consider these lighting options that can help you save energy and money.
What’s the big deal with LED (light-emitting diode) holiday lights? You can reap up to 70-90% energy savings! Your old incandescent or florescent lights consume between 40-175 watts of power per string, while an LED string consumes just 2-4 watts. According to the energystar.gov website, the energy of one 7-watt incandescent bulb can power 140 LED bulbs, which equates to two 24-foot strings. Additionally, low-wattage LED lights allow you to connect up to 24 strings end-to-end without overloading a wall socket. You may pay a little more at the register for LEDs, but their expected lifespan is up to 50,000 hours, which means you won’t have to replace strings as often—if ever.
Typically, rope lights use miniature incandescent bulbs spaced apart in flexible plastic tubing. There are LED rope lights on the market, but if you can’t find them in your store, you can still save energy with standard ropes. The tiny incandescents consume only 0.5 watts of electricity per foot and can last more than 20,000 hours.
Fiber Optic Tree
Thinking about getting a new Christmas tree? Save energy with a fiber optic tree. These trees use a single bulb to transmit electricity along tiny fibers throughout the branches. The fibers light up the entire tree, often in alternating colors, and stay cool to the touch. With only one 5-20 watt bulb consuming energy on your tree, you are saving money and eliminating the task of hanging and removing lights.
Energy Saving Timer
Whatever lights you use, leaving them on all day or after you’ve gone to bed runs up your electric bill unnecessarily. Invest in timers to turn on and off your outdoor and indoor lights for you. Inflatable decorations are some of the most energy-sucking items you can display (150-200 watts per hour), and timers eliminate the need to remember to shut off their fans and lights after viewing time has passed.
Electricity Free Decorating
Candles are a great electric-free option that can be used in outdoor luminaries. Even with shorter daylight hours, solar-powered luminaries, strings, and ornaments can soak up enough sunlight to illuminate your yard or tree for plenty of enjoyment. If you just can’t give up tree lights, cut down the amount by decorating with shiny ornaments, garland or tinsel that reflect light and add brilliance. Turn off overhead lighting when your tree is on, and the soft glow will still provide enough light to navigate the room.
Even if you are competing to have the best neighborhood Christmas lights, it doesn’t mean you have to face the worst electric bill. Keep energy efficiency in mind during the holidays, and put a little extra holiday cash in your pocket.