While you’re upgrading to LED lamps or LED high bays, don’t forget to consider the energy-hogging holiday lights that decorate your house during the holidays. Like other applications, LED holiday lights can save 80 percent or more of the energy used by incandescent lights.
Incandescent lights have been used during the holidays for more than 100 years, starting with Thomas Edison when he strung some bulbs outside his laboratory in 1880, according to BusinessMirror.com. Eventually, it became the norm to decorate Christmas trees with lights—but only the wealthy could afford it! In today’s dollars, it would cost approximately $2,000 to decorate just one tree. In 1903, General Electric changed that when they introduced preassembled Christmas lights.
Although holiday lights are only used a few hours a day over the duration of one to two months, they use enough electricity to provide power to 200,000 homes for a year, according to a U.S. Department of Energy study. For that reason, it’s important to consider energy-efficiency even during the holidays.
Thankfully, LEDs are now inexpensive enough to replace incandescent holiday lights. What’s more, they can last up to 20,000 hours, so you won’t have to go out and buy new ones next year. The amount of energy required to light a traditional single 7-watt incandescent Christmas bulb can power 140 LEDs, or two 24-foot strings of holiday lights, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
And most of us know the other downside to incandescent Christmas tree lights: they can sometimes burn your fingers! LEDs are cool to touch, and also come in every imaginable color and shape.
This year, Walmart is devoting half of its shelf space to LED holiday lights while Costco isn’t selling incandescent holiday lights at all. General Electric expects that two out of every five strings of lights sold this year will be LEDs. I, Dr. Bulb, love the sound of LED progress.
If you’re still unsure about the slightly higher initial price of LED holiday lights, at least you’re not spending $2,000 to light your Christmas tree like our wealthy ancestors.