Energy-efficient Christmas lighting ideas

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Energy-efficient Christmas lighting ideas
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Christmas light display.

Nothing heralds in the Christmas season like decorating our homes with lights. Every perfectly placed bulb and illuminated star act to brighten our world and the worlds of those around us. But with rising energy costs and mounting concerns about our environment, many of us are rethinking our traditional holiday décor. Here are some energy-saving tips that can help you celebrate the season with efficiency and conservation in mind.

Transition to LED Bulbs

Light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs are the type you see in digital alarm clocks and remote controls. They have been around for a long time, but have only recently been used for holiday lighting. LED bulbs offer many advantages over traditional incandescent bulbs.

* LED bulbs use much less electricity and can save 90 percent or more on holiday lighting energy costs. (Twenty light strings containing 35 incandescent bulbs each lit for six hours a day will cost you $94.60 a month for electricity.)

* LED bulbs generate a lot less heat and are thus a better choice for fire prevention and safety, especially when used around children.

* LED bulbs last much longer - up to 100,000 hours of lighted time.

Although LED lights do cost more than incandescent, their lower energy consumption and longer life more than make up for the difference in initial investment.

Use a Timer

Many of us turn on our Christmas lights at dusk and leave them on until dawn. This is a wasteful practice that can triple our holiday energy use. Instead, install timers at each energy source that will turn off the lights at 10 p.m. Good quality outdoor timers can be purchased for less than $20. This reduces your usage from 12 hours a day to four, a savings of 67 percent!

Modify Your Display Time

Traditionally, many of us light our Christmas displays on Thanksgiving and continue until January 6. That's more than 40 days of lights. Trimming down those dates from December 4 (three weeks before Christmas) until January 2 can save as much as 55 percent.

Give Your Décor a Facelift

Don't forget that the majority of time friends and neighbors will see your Christmas display is during daylight hours. So why not retire some of your lights and opt instead for decorations that can be enjoyed during the day? Large red bows, candy canes, pine cones wreaths, etc. are all easier to install and don't use any electricity at all.

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