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Holiday Lights: LED is a Brighter Idea

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Holiday Lights: LED is a Brighter Idea

LED holiday lights versus traditional incandescent lights: greater energy efficiency, lower energy costs, longer durability, and reduced heat and fire risk.

Holiday light displays are slowly transforming from traditional incandescent glass and filament lights to energy efficient LED lights. This transformation not only helps energy consumption—it also helps the pocketbook. To get a sense of how much one can save, here’s a fun comparison.

According to Wikipedia, the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation family used 250 strands of lights with 100 bulbs on each strand for a total of 25,000 light bulbs (enough to make the power company turn on their auxiliary nuclear generator).

That’s a lot of holiday lights—and a lot of energy—because the Griswolds were using old-fashioned incandescent holiday lights. Had the Griswolds used energy efficient LED lights to festoon their holiday house, they might have saved themselves up to 90 percent on their monthly energy bill.

According to BC Hydro, those 25,000 incandescent lights would have used about 125,000 watts of energy. An equivalent LED strand would use 1,070 watts. BC Hydro also provides a cost analysis based on energy prices for BC, which gives a rough idea of what the Griswolds might have saved.

Assuming six hours per day of use for the month of December with a price of 8.27 cents per kilowatt hour, the Griswold’s total bill for December would look like this:

Incandescent lights


LED lights




It appears that the LED light has gone on for many Canadians who have been opting for the energy efficiency that LED holiday lights provide. Statistics Canada’s latest figures (2009) show that 32 percent of Canadians now use LED lights in their holiday displays.

If you are one of the 68 percent of Canadians who doesn’t use LED lights for your holiday displays, and you’re not convinced by the energy efficient cost savings they provide, here are a few other reasons to make the switch.

LED lights:

  • last up to 10 times longer—up to 50,000 hours in total
  • cost relatively the same to buy as conventional lights
  • are more durable with no glass or filaments to break
  • do not give off heat like conventional bulbs, reducing fire risk

If new LED lights aren’t on your list for next year’s holiday display—and you’re planning a Griswold-worthy light fest, a call to the local power authority ahead of time is definitely recommended.

If you’re still working on gifts for this holiday season, check out some of our healthy, green gift ideas—and enter to win a free gift basket. Contest ends January 20, 2012.

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