Lower your holiday energy bill with energy-efficient lighting

Tom Kraeutler

Deck the halls with twinkling cheer using the latest in energy-efficient lighting products and you'll trim down your holiday energy bill. The variety and versatility of LED and fiber-optic options are better than ever before, keeping valuable dollars in your holiday budget as they provide longer-lasting light while reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

LED Magic: LED (light-emitting diode) illumination has come a long way since its early, somewhat-dim days, and now tends to shine brighter and longer than traditional options. LEDs convert energy into light rather than heat, with each light in a system using only .04 watts for up to 90 percent efficiency over old-school incandescents. Wondering how this translates to your personal energy savings? According to the Alliance to Save Energy, a household burning 10 strands of holiday lights with 100 lights per strand, eight hours a day for a month, would spend around $175 a month for large incandescents, about $11 a month for traditional mini-lights, and just over $1 for LEDs (based on a local energy cost of $0.1003 per kilowatt-hour).

In other advantages, LED lights contain no mercury or other toxins, and the sturdy epoxy bulbs can last more than 50,000 hours, barely warming up and reducing fire concerns in the process. What's more, if one light in an LED string goes out, it won't dim the rest of a holiday display. Shop your favorite home center or discount store for strings in a range of shapes and colors, rope lighting, spotlights, trees, wreaths and lawn displays.