It is quite easy to get caught up in the holiday decorating fever. Whether you view holiday lighting as your main winter project, or a spirited competition with the neighbors, stringing hundreds of small, colorful bulbs is always a large part of the season.
Generally, we get so caught up in the spirit of the season that we don't realize how much energy those blinking strands of illumination can use up. Add to it that winter-time brings higher energy costs and our electric bills can start to bring a crash to our holiday cheer.
When we look at energy efficient lighting, we often think if Compact Fluorescent Lights (or CFLs). However, Light Emitting Diodes, or LEDs, can save energy as well, especially when it comes to holiday lighting.
The traditional bulb used for holiday lighting (incandescent C7) we uses 6 watts. This is per bulb remember. When we compare this to the .08 watts used per LED bulb, we can see how much energy is saved. Now let's look at this in cost savings...
A typical strand of 50 lights utilizes 300 watts (.3 kilowatts). At the national average of 9.81 cents per kWh, that equals 3 cents per hour, per strand. Running these lights 5 hours a day for the entire season of 30 days, the total cost for one strand of holiday lights equals $4.50. Multiply this by however many strands of lights you are using and you can see that lighting costs add up.
On the other hand, a strand of 50 LED lights uses 4 watts (.004 kilowatts). Using the same formula as above, the total cost to run a strand of LED holiday bulbs for the season would be less than 6 cents. So running 10 strands of these lights would cost less than $6.00 for the holiday season.
Since most energy saving bulbs generate less heat, the life span is much greater. LEDs are no exception lasting up to 100,000 hours. The limited heat output makes for safer illumination as well. So when you are perusing the aisles this season, make sure to look for the LED lights, and don't worry, they are available anywhere you would buy the old-fashioned energy draining bulbs.