Written by: Sormeh Konjkav
O Christmas Lights, O Christmas Lights! ‘Tis the season of tree lightings and home lighting displays galore. In the state of New York alone, electricity demand this year is expected to increase by 750-800 megawatts (MW) from holiday lighting, which is 4% of the state’s average hourly electricity demand. LEDs can help minimize electricity demand increases by using about 75% less energy than the conventional incandescent lights that homes and commercial buildings have traditionally used.
While the higher upfront cost of LEDs may throw you off, it’s actually incandescent lights that cost more in the long run - their higher energy use results in much higher electricity costs. The Department of Energy has estimated that the cost to light a six-foot tree for 12 hours per day for 40 days is $10.00 with traditional lights and $0.27 with holiday strands of LEDs. Additionally, ENERGY STAR certified LED lights can last about 10 times longer than the traditional holiday lights, reducing replacement costs – so you can enjoy the holiday lights you love year after year.
There has classically been a small barrier to LED holiday lights: the aesthetics. It may have crossed your mind that LEDs have been known to look uncomfortably bright to some, but gone are the days of blinding white LED lights. We’re nearing the 2017 and LEDs are looking better, brighter, and more vibrant than ever – even available in multi-color strings!
Besides the energy savings benefits of LED lights, there are additional non-energy benefits as well. During installation, there’s no need to worry about the hassle and look of additional cords to keep the lights from overloading a circuit. This is because the low energy use of LEDs allows for stringing loads of strands together without a problem. The list of benefits for LEDs compared to incandescent holiday lights can go on and on, including being safer and sturdier as well.
It’s the season of giving, so let’s give back to the environment (and our pockets) by lighting our buildings with LED lights this year. If you don’t have those extra few dollars to buy LEDs, many utilities have incentives to cover partial costs of LED lights for both residential and commercial customers. Feel free to reach out to Waypoint Energy if you’re interested in making the transition to LED holiday lights; contact firstname.lastname@example.org for help navigating lighting incentives in your area.