It’s official: the holiday season is here. With snow on the ground in much of the Northeast and days still getting darker earlier, NEEP has some tips to help you brighten up your homes while still leaving plenty of room in your budget for the newest gadgets and gifts.
Holiday lighting is a big business! Think about it: around the holidays, millions of Americans plug in new light sources, both inside and out, and leave them on for hours each day. Think of your own home—do you use fewer of your normal lights when your holiday lights are on? Or do you enjoy the holiday ambience alongside of your traditional lighting arrays? Utility customers in this region are accustomed to bills going up in the winter months; while this is mostly thought to be attributed to an increase in heating and maybe holiday cooking, holiday lighting can heat up and burn a hole in your electricity bill.
What are your options for maintaining the merriment and joy that holiday lights can bring, but not at the expense of your electricity bill or carbon footprint? Well, as usual when we’re talking about efficient lighting these days, LEDs are at the top of Santa’s list! Not only are there great ENERGY STAR certified candle-style LEDs (ENERGYSTAR Product Finder), but LEDs are available for string lights designed for a snug home or the frigid ridges of gutters. Your options include mini (which offer the best energy savings), larger/Christmas lights, net style lights, icicle, cascading lights (which are contained to tubes where the light moves down), and rope lights!
You may have seen some of the cool-white LEDs dotting your neighborhood. The starry slightly blue color is a great way to make a public statement that you went efficient this year, but there are many color options to choose from, including warm white (closer to traditional incandescent), specific colors, and multi-color. Essentially, anything that was available in incandescent holiday lighting is now available in LED, and the energy savings are enormous!
Duke Energy has developed a nifty tool to compare the energy costs for incandescents vs. LED holiday lights. This is a great way to think about your holiday lighting habits and see what a difference switching to LEDs can make. Now to the costs—LED technology is more expensive than incandescent, but can pay off in electricity savings quickly (and the more hours per day and days per year you run them, the larger the savings). According to one analysis, to light a home inside and out for 40 days, 6 hrs/day, the cost differential between LED and incandescent is $130 for mini lights, and $530 for the larger C7 style! That is huge savings and shows that a complete switch to LEDs could pay off in just one season!
When it comes to holiday lighting, LEDs offer so many benefits; not only are they better for your utility bills, but these lights are better for the environment and LEDs last much longer than incandescents. So, we hope this year you’ll make the switch and put LEDs on the top of your list.