Archived Story

LEDs use less energy

Published 8:55pm Wednesday, December 21, 2011

CASSOPOLIS — For many of us, Christmas light displays are as much a part of the holiday tradition as exchanging gifts and singing “Silent Night.” We go to great lengths to adorn our trees, mantels and rooflines with colorful strands that light our way through the holiday season.
In doing so, however, we are also using extra energy that can make for a surprise “gift” on the January electric bill.
One of the best ways to save energy without dimming holiday cheer is switching to light-emitting diode (LED) holiday lights.
LEDs emit a bright, vibrant light and use significantly less energy than conventional lights. They are also longer-lasting and stay cooler than traditional bulbs because they don’t have a filament. The brilliance of their color makes LED lights suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
The primary disadvantage of LED lights can be the up-front cost, depending on the vendor.
But over time, the investment pays off through the longer life of the bulbs and the reduced energy use.
Midwest Energy Cooperative used a Kill-A-Watt Meter energy monitoring device to evaluate a 50-bulb strand of traditional mini lights (20.4 watts) and a 50-bulb strand of LED mini lights (2.4 watts).
Operating one strand of traditional lights for 180 hours over the holiday season (six hours a day for 30 days) would add about 40 cents to the electric bill, while operating the LED strand for the same amount of time would add less than five cents to the bill.
For outdoor decorating, many use C7 size strands of bulbs. One strand of 25 traditional C7 lights (125 watts) costs about $2.54 for 180 hours, while a strand of LED C7 lights (2.4 watts) costs less than five cents for the same amount of time.
Keep in mind that these numbers represent just one strand of lights. While most of us don’t go to the extent of the Griswold family in the popular “Christmas Vacation” movie, it is quite common to incorporate numerous strands of lights into our decorating schemes.
And don’t forget about the popular inflatables and other electronic displays. Everything that is plugged in will ultimately add to the electric use and impact the bill. Manage that by paying attention to the wattage and making more energy efficient choices.
To see a full display of lighting options and estimated energy costs for each, visit your local Midwest Energy Cooperative district service center.

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