After years of guilt and frustration from using old school incandescent Christmas lights, I finally broke down and bought a set of LED lights for our tree. LED lights use 90% less energy than traditional bulbs, burn safer by producing less heat, and last for years instead of months.

Having voluntarily made the switch, I was able to enlist my old lights in an energy savings experiment. I put the same number of regular and LED lights outside on the bushes, and inside on the tree. Then I used my Kill A Watt usage monitor to get some data on exactly how much energy and money each set of 480 bulbs would burn every 24 hours.

The bottom line: My LED lights used 85% less energy than the traditional lights, and cost only 5¢ per day to operate. This saved me $10.75 over the 5-week period (LEDs cost $1.95; Incadescent cost $12.70) Not bad! 

This experiment proved to me that LED lights truly are more efficient, and got me excited about the future. A big chunk of U.S. energy is used on lighting, and if we could systematically reduce that by 85%-95% the impacts are clear. I think we’ll be seeing a lot more LED technology in the near future – even the tree in Francis Marian Park had LED lights this year!

So if you want to green up your holidays, definitely check out LED lights…I’m happy I did! If you want to check your own energy usage, you can pick up a Kill A Watt EZ at, or do the calculations yourself. You can also purchase LED lights online, and definitely check the local big box stores for deals this time of year.

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