Have a Merry Energy-Conscious Christmas!

Christmas lighting is a tradition that brings pleasure to almost everyone. As a child I can remember begging my parents to drive around area neighborhoods that were known for their magnificent displays. It was so magical to watch out the car windows as we slowly passed the brightly lit houses, each one more spectacular than the next. I still love to catch a glimpse of these neighborhoods in December, but I can’t help but worry about the incredible amount of energy we’re wasting in the celebration of this time-honored tradition. Here are some ways to minimize our energy consumption while still enjoying the splendor of the season.

Switch from incandescent to LED bulbs. The single largest action that can make a difference in the energy we consume for holiday lighting is to switch from incandescent to LED bulbs. LED bulbs use less than 10 percent of the energy necessary for more conventional incandescent bulbs. In addition, they stay much cooler, which reduces the risk of personal injury or fire. That energy savings translates to cost savings as well. San Diego Gas & Electric reports that each string of 35 incandescent bulbs lit for six hours a day will cost you $4.73 a month. Multiply that by 20 strings, and that’s a whopping $94.60. LED bulbs can also last up to 100 times longer, making the investment in the lights themselves much more cost effective as well.

Don’t leave your lights on all night. Many homeowners want to share their Christmas displays as much as they can during the short season, so they turn on their lights at dusk and leave them on until dawn. Considering that this time frame is about 12 hours in length, it uses twice the energy and costs two times as much as the example given previously. Turn your lights off at bedtime – most people are at home by then and wouldn’t see them any later anyway.

Trim your trimmings. If you have a tendency towards the outrageous, and generally like to cover every horizontal and vertical space in your yard, try scaling back the lights by 25 percent. You can still leave all the unlighted decorations and it may even help to accentuate the overall effectiveness of the scene. Sometimes less is more.

Shorten your display time. Instead of lighting your display from Thanksgiving night to January 6, you can save as much as 25 percent (of energy and costs) by only lighting your decorations during the month of December.

By making a few changes like those mentioned here, you can easily cut your holiday décor energy consumption by 90 percent or more. This will result in happier holidays for you and our planet. Merry Energy-Conscious Christmas!


San Diego Gas & Electric, “Holiday Lighting: Safety and energy-efficiency tips,” SDGE.com

People also view

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *