Have Yourself a Merry Little Energy-Efficient Holiday Season!

Tis the season for decking the halls with strands of twinkling lights and making merry with an abundance of sparkling decorations and fun activities. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, holiday lights consume 6.6 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. That’s enough energy to power 14 million refrigerators! Don’t let the magic of the season overtake your energy spend. Follow these tips to have a merry little energy-efficient holiday season and give yourself the gift of savings!

Upgrade to LED lighting

LED lights–or light emitting diodes–can increase your home’s energy efficiency by about 85 percent. This goes for holiday lighting, too. LEDs may be a bit more expensive, but they last for about 50,000 hours compared to traditional lights, which only run for about 1,000 hours. That’s at least 40 more holiday seasons, so between their energy efficiency and durability, they’re worth the upfront cost. And, while incandescent bulbs are made with glass and are prone to crack and shatter, LED lights are made with epoxy lenses that are much brighter and more resistant to breakage.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the cost of buying and running Christmas lights over 10 holiday seasons is about $17.99 for energy-efficient LED lights compared to $122.19 for conventional incandescent lighting. The cost of lighting a six-foot Christmas tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days would run about $0.27 for LED lights compared to $10 for incandescent lights.

Untangle yourself from all those strands of holiday lights

If you have a tight budget or want to save on lighting altogether, shift your focus away from using so many strands of lights. A few well-placed LED spotlights outside can accent electricity-free decorations. Reflective ornaments and sparkly decorations work well and can enhance a minimally lit tree or home.

Battery powered candles are another way to safely light your home. They’re not only easy to use and install, but safer than those lit with real flame, and you don’t have to worry about forgetting to extinguish them before leaving the house or going to bed.

Control your energy spend with timers

Consider using timers no matter how few or many lights you put up this season. Smart timers help you save on your energy bill and give peace of mind because you can simply “set it and forget it” without having to remember to turn the lights on and off for the rest of the season.

If you have a smart home system, you can connect to the lighting and control everything from a smartphone app or via your voice assistant. Also, remember to not leave your outdoor lights up all year round. The cords and bulbs might deteriorate faster and may become a hazard. Most importantly, pause to enjoy the warmth and magic of the season.

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