LEDs burning brighter than ever this season

xmastreeoBy Amy Miller

During the days after Christmas, after the toys, books and clothes are unwrapped and the turkey has been eaten, my family likes to cruise through nearby communities and gaze – well OK, pass judgment — on all the beautiful holiday lights.

Good one, my husband might exclaim.

Cool, my son will add.

Tacky, declares my daughter.

Oh look down there, that looks like a good street.

And so it goes, evaluating and just enjoying the displays of light that bring merriment to New England during the darkest days of winter.

Over the years we (or so we believe) have become connoisseurs of the ever more creative displays. In recent years, we keenly observe, displays have become what might technically be called a mish-mash.

Bright bluish white LEDs mixed with old fashion yellow lights. What the industry calls cold blue versus warm blue. And big C9 color bulbs mixed with soft little icicles. Beside all of these lights, a giant Snowman balloon alongside a munching incandescent deer.

Well, if it was bedlam out there, the good news is that we are slowly moving towards a much more efficient display of holiday cheer. And now, while the sales are on is the perfect time to get your LED holiday lights at an especially low cost.

Anecdotal evidence tells you that the ratio of LED bulbs to energy guzzling incandescent lights has gone up significantly. The cause may be greater energy consciousness. Or that the price of LED has dropped enough to draw in consumers. Or as I will argue, it’s because the elves created a more appealing LED light in the warm spectrum, slightly closer to the yellow whites we are used to.

In fact, our backseat analysis of the trend turns out to be true.

According to the Department of Energy, holiday light strands are becoming ever more popular. They’re sturdier, last longer and consume 70 percent less energy than conventional incandescent light strands. It only costs 27 cents to light a 6-foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days with LEDs compared to $10 for incandescent lights. For those who aren’t mathematicians, that’s a big difference.

Lighting today is safer and brighter than ever. The history of lighting began with candles, pretty but not so safe. Incandescent lights were a step up, and now we have LEDs, which are cooler to the touch and much safer. Plus, they are significantly less likely to burn out or break. LEDs are sturdier because they are made with epoxy lenses instead of glass, so break less easily. Also, as many as 25 strings of LEDs can be connected together without overloading an electrical outlet.”

We know LED holiday lights cost more up-front, but they save a lot of money in the long run. Besides using less energy, they last 25 times longer. I know, because for the first time, I haven’t had to replace my little strand of outdoor lights for two years.

DOE estimates the cost of buying and operating lights for 10 holiday seasons is:

  • Incandescent C-9 lights, $122.19
  • LED C-9 lights, $17.99
  • Incandescent mini-lights, $55.62
  • LED mini-lights, $33.29

OK, so the warm LEDs aren’t quite as cozy as the old white lights, but they are close. Anyway, I’ve come to see those cool blue ones as cleaner, more wintry. I can even envision a time when the yellow ones will seem dirty. And, to my family, they already are feeling unnecessarily wasteful and expensive.

For 2017, resolve to get LEDs. And I hope you enjoy the light shows as much as I do.

Amy Miller works in the Office of Public Affairs at EPA New England.

Fore more information on LEDs: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/led-lighting

 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

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Turn Off The Lights!

By Ameshia Cross

I can still hear my mother screaming at the top of her lungs, “Turn out the lights and unplug that radio!” I couldn’t make it through the day without switching on every light in the house. I had to have my radio playing at all times and went to bed with the TV on. When my mom bought me a computer, I was so excited and showed my elation by never turning it off. My mom was always harping about saving energy. She would reuse grocery bags before it was fashionable to do. As a kid, I thought my mom was crazy for being this way!

Everything changed when I met a man I now call an “Energy Star.” During my sophomore year of high school, a man came to speak at our annual Earth Day assembly. I thought he was a little weird (don’t all adults seem weird to teenagers!) but the passion he had drew me to his message. “Turn out the lights and unplug that radio!” Those words were of course familiar to me but now they were coming from someone who wasn’t my mom, so they carried a greater weight. “Energy Star” went on to talk about the effects that behavior like mine can have on the environment. He even spoke of people who do not have reliable sources of energy at all and how conservation is key in moving forward. It made me appreciate energy so much more and how I take it for granted.

I took a hold of that message and have been changed ever since. Since interning at EPA, I learned about the Energy Star Kids program. This program highlights what young people can do to protect their environment and how a little energy conservation goes a long way. If I’d known about this program as a kid I would have saved both my mom and the environment a lot of trouble.

I also learned that saving energy can be fun and easy. Some examples of how to do it can be found.  Granted I still slip up at times! This morning I probably left a light on before leaving the house, but I have set a goal for myself that includes leading a life of energy conservation and awareness and I am glad I did.

About the author:  Ameshia Cross joined the EPA in December as a STEP intern in the Air and Radiation Division in Chicago. She has worked for numerous community organizations, holds seats on youth education boards, and is active in politics. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Administration with an emphasis on environmental policy and legislation.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.


Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.