Light Up the Holidays … Efficiently

    During the holiday season, elaborate lighting displays can add significantly to energy costs in your home. Instead of changing your decorating plans to save energy, explore using alternative-lighting technologies. Energy-efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and fiber optics can help you save time, energy and money, while still achieving a bright, attention-getting holiday display.

    LED lights are made from a coated semiconductor material that emits light when charged with electricity. They have been used for decades in applications such as alarm clocks and exit signs. While LEDs were initially considered too low in light output for decorative lighting, recent technology advances have increased their light quality and brightness.

    LEDs come in a variety of colors, shapes and styles. They can be used in a multitude of applications, and offer a number of advantages compared to traditional holiday lighting technologies, including the following:

    Increased energy efficiency. LEDs use one-tenth the energy of miniature lights and 100 times less energy than traditional C7 bulbs used in the past.
    Longer lifespan. LEDs last up to 100,000 hours, helping to alleviate replacement costs.
    Durability. With their solid-state construction, LEDs are water and weather-resistant.
    Improved safety. LEDs are cool to the touch, reducing the risk of fire through contact with flammable surfaces.

    C7 and miniature incandescent bulbs are the most widely used in decorative holiday displays. Both provide bright, high-quality light, but they require frequent replacement and cost much more to operate than LED lights. LED lights do cost more to purchase than traditional bulbs, but the lower operating costs can provide a return on your investment over the life of the bulb. In addition, the longer lifespan and durability of LEDs can reduce maintenance and replacement costs.

    Fiber optic holiday trees can add variety and convenience to decorative holiday displays because they are easy to set up and remove. A single bulb, typically 5 to 50 watts, is used to illuminate each tree. Light is transmitted from that one bulb through hundreds, or even thousands, of tiny fibers that produce light along each branch of the tree. Since only light is transmitted, the fibers stay cool to the touch, saving energy and reducing the fire hazard associated with traditional trees.

    When first introduced, fiber-optic trees used only incandescent bulbs. Now, many retailers offer trees with LED lights at the base. As with other decorative holiday options, the LED versions are more energy efficient and last longer. Fiber-optic trees vary widely in price, depending on size and again, are generally more expensive than incandescent models.

    As with any lighting product, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding safe operations, maintenance and storage. If you have any questions about how you can make your home more energy efficient this holiday season, or any time of the year, call us.


    About Gregg Wright

    Gregg Wright is an Energy Advisor at Hendricks Power. He is a BPI certified Building Analyst that wants to help members use energy in the most efficient way. Gregg can help determine what is using energy in a home, recommend energy savings upgrades and help to prioritize home improvement projects. He has been with the cooperative for 10 years.

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