Energy efficient Christmas lighting : 87% energy savings

While some households might deck their halls with bright, sparkling Christmas lights this month as they do every year, others may think twice about splashing out on electric decorations during tough economic times.

However, festive lighting need not cost families an arm and a leg in electricity costs. More and more options are appearing that offer people the opportunity to set up seasonal lighting that is attractive but also energy efficient. Light-emitting diode (LED) lights use up to 87 percent less electricity than traditional Christmas lights. The problem is awareness: some simply do not know how much energy they could be saving with LEDs. Others have some vague idea that there are savings to be made, but are frightened off by the marginally higher upfront costs.

Take Houston for example. There are those who prefer traditional incandescent Christmas lights over LED alternatives, both for the lower initial costs and for aesthetic reasons.

“I’m putting up the regular Christmas lights. I haven’t gotten to the LED lights yet. Even the older-style Christmas lights don’t draw all that much amperage. I figure it’s something you do, and it costs you a couple of extra dollars,” Woodland Heights, Houston resident Glen Sementelli told the Houston Chronicle.

Initial versus long-term costs

According to the US Energy Department, 10 lines of 25 conventional lights every night for five hours costs $1.02 per night whereas LED lights use just 14 cents in energy a night. However, a pack of 25 traditional incandescent 7-watt bulbs costs $4.39; 25 equivalent LED bulbs costs $32.30. Houston-based Christmas lighting installation expert Chad Wilson confirmed this trade off:

“LED lights are going to be the most energy-efficient lights, but you are going to pay for them. They are made of ceramic glass. They don’t break that often, unlike the glass ones, but you get a different look,” Wilson told the Chronicle.

LED Christmas lights can also save on wiring costs. Since they consume less electricity than traditional lights, they are also less likely to require the installation of circuit break subpanels. Speaking to the Houston Chronicle, Christmas Lights up Texas owner Tim Hunter said:

“We are finding that you don’t have to add additional panels with LED lights. “It is better to use the LED because you can run more lines into one outlet.”

European installations

Energy efficient Christmas lighting is also starting to take off in Europe. In Zurich, Switzerland, Kummler+Matter AG, a subsidiary of Alpiq, has just installed Christmas lights on the city’s Bahnhofstrasse. The display, which comprises 11,550 lights, consumes just three kilowatt – about the same as a single oven. This is down to LED lighting. Kummler+Matter’s head of external lighting, Heinz Brandenberger, praised the LED technology used in the installation:

“Thanks to its energy efficiency and the low consumption, this technology will become the standard in the long run.”

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