Somewhere hidden in my marriage vows must have been a quick blurb that gave me responsibility for the perils of hanging the outdoor Christmas lights and trying to improve my family’s sustainable living with LED Holiday Lights.
I’m not sure how it escaped my attention on that whirlwind wedding day long, long ago. But over the last few decades, I’ve dutifully hauled out the stepladder on a chilly late November afternoon and clamored in front of an ever-growing holly bush with a mission to turn it into the neighborhood’s most brightly lite bush. With a nip in the air, I painstakingly install thousands of little twinkling lights on its many branches.
But what about the impact on my carbon footprint? How can I minimize the impact of this relatively new holiday tradition?
Are there smarter, greener options? I really want to take another step towards sustainable living with LED holiday lights and go more green this holiday season.
A few years back, my electric meter whirled a little faster during the holiday season, but that’s all changed.
While shopping at my local hardware store, I noticed the store has an ever widening selection affordable LED holiday lights. It’s about time! Green Blizzard recently bashed those holding out and still using old-fashioned incandescents instead of switching to LEDs in the Get Real with LED post. Now there is no excuse not to be able to achieve sustainable living with LED holiday lights.
What were these strange new gizmos, I wondered? Can they really reduce my CO2? Green Blizzard has already strongly suggested dumping all your incandescents sooner rather than later in the recent article – Get Real And Finally Discard All Your Incandescent Bulbs!
The LED holiday light strings of 50 durable lights promise to last 25 times longer than the standard mini lights – which averages out to be about 25,000 to 50,000 hours. That’s at least 16 years, probably double that time or more, or basically an adult’s typical lifetime of holiday decorating responsibility. At that rate, my grandchildren will still be using my lights at the turn of the century! From a carbon footprint perspective, the box claims an 88 percent energy savings for the standard mini lights, only 4.8 watts per string versus 70+ watts for the mini incandescent bulbs. That’s a big step towards more sustainable living. At $8 a box, it was worth a try. Three years and 20+ new boxes later, my burning bush is a beautiful, energy-sipping LED bush. Cool, bright and saving energy – what’s not to like !
The Washington Post reports that 500,000 U.S. homes could be powered for a year with the energy consumed by one season of holiday lights. I figure my old outdoor lights were costing $70 per season in electricity – the same amount of electricity used to power a large window air conditioner. Now with the LED lights, it only costs me $12, which is equivalent to burning a 100-watt incandescent bulb. These new LED lights actually pay for themselves in the first year or so. What used to consume 1300 watts per hour is now only consuming about 100 watts, total!
Plus, they last a lot longer and can be linked end-to-end up to 50 strings in a row for easier installation. A box of LED bulbs costs about 20 cents per bulb, versus the incandescents, which run about 5 cents per bulb.
Next year, LED offerings will probably overtake the now inefficient products first introduced by GE in 1903. Let’s hope all those clunkers will be off the shelves in a year or so.
Do your pre-season preparations and buying at Amazon which carries a wide selection of LEDs in all shapes and colors:, Philips clear globe (our favorite), white, multi-color, and even Icicle LEDs….you can’t go wrong if you stick to a trusted brand like Philips, another favorite LED option on Amazon is this set of LED Christmas Lights.
What’s around the corner? The next generation is already here. There are even LED solar-powered LED micro sets on the market which do not require electricity and that have a built-in photocell so that lights turn on automatically and last eight hours when fully charged – but that may become an issue on cloudy and snowy winter days. Probably best for sunnier winter locations.
Make the switch to LED this holiday season or next holiday season with a little less greenhouse gas in the atmosphere and take a few more steps towards achieving sustainable living with LED holiday lights.
Check out our Green Blizzard home page for our wide assortment of sustainable living articles, or here are a few of our Editor’s Picks that may be of interest: The LED Bulb Revolution is Here, Greener TVs, Incandescent Demise, Save On Your Electric Bills – Toss Out Those Incandescent Bulbs, UPS Green, Plastic Grocery Bags – Kick The Habit, and Which is Better Environmentally? Buying Locally or Online?