Christmas Lights Energy Saving Tips

Worried about the environment? A new concern looms over Americans this holiday season. The lights that adorn the trees and homes in your neighborhood generate a large amount of carbon dioxide — a leading contributor to global warming. Americans will spend more than $2 billion on Christmas decorations this year, and much of that money will go into powering those lights and other holiday appliances and gadgets.

Energy conservationists say that during the holidays, homeowners can make simple changes to save energy and reduce their carbon footprint. It’s not only good for the environment; it’s also an easy way to save money on electricity bills. Here are some tips:

Use LED (light-emitting diode) lights. They are the most efficient type of incandescent bulb, more expensive but lasting longer than regular incandescent bulbs.

LEDs use up to 90 percent less energy and may last 10 times as long as standard Christmas lights.

Use high-efficiency lighting for indoor displays. High-efficiency compact fluorescent lightbulbs use 70 percent less energy than old-style incandescent bulbs do, and they last up to 10 times longer.

For outdoor displays, look for LED icicle lights that have an “Energy Star” label on the package — these are at least 10 times more efficient than traditional icicle lights, according to Energy Star.

Keep trees about three feet away from heat sources such as televisions, monitors, and appliances to avoid drying out the branches.

Don’t use lit candles indoors.

Choose energy-saving LED flashlights for decorating since they are brighter than conventional flashlights that contain incandescent bulbs.

Buy colored LED strings because white LEDs tend to be less efficient than colored ones. Some manufacturers make warm-white LEDs; these are slightly more efficient than regular white LEDs.

Portable lights bearing the label can save consumers money on their electric bills year after year but must use at least 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent lights. Read the label carefully, though, because it may apply to only part of a product’s line.

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