The science of saving energy with LEDs this holiday season


Christmas lights are famous for spreading holiday cheer, but they are also infamous for their extreme use of electricity and high costs. LED lights (such the as the ones pictured) lessens the extent of these issues.

Alexandra Grundfast, Contributing Writer

As the holiday season commences, the archetypical decorations, music, and lights are being displayed for all to see.  Christmas lights especially are one of the most popular symbols of the holiday season.  These beloved lights spread beauty and holiday spirit to all who see them, but many people have yet to explore the scientific side of these brilliant decorations.

These lights are usually up for two months: right after Thanksgiving and until around New Years Day.  During these two months, the lights require additional electric currency. 

The amount of electricity that these decorations uses up depends on the quantity of lights, the watt of their bulbs, and the length of their tenure.  Studies show that more electricity is used during the holiday season than any other time throughout the year.

“In my neighborhood, as soon as Thanksgiving is over, Christmas lights are automatically put up,” said freshman Lucy Barr.  “They are very nice to drive by, but they do waste a lot of energy.” 

But do not worry, there is a solution to this holiday time energy dilemma. 

According to the United States Department of Energy in 2012, Energy Star-qualified LEDs use only about 20 to 25 percent of the energy, and last up to 25 times longer than the traditional incandescent bulbs they replace. 

In addition, not only do these LED bulbs use less energy, but they are also cheaper. The same report shared that if you were to purchase an LED bulb, you would pay approximately $6 less than if you had purchased a traditional bulb to light the same space.

Christmas lights are incandescent, and a switch to LED ones could be just what you need to spread holiday cheer while, at the same time, being environmentally aware.

“There is one house on my street that is beautifully lit up around the holidays. The entire house is lit up with colorful lights and flashing decorations that you can see from far away.  The house is awesome to drive by every year, but I can’t even imagine how much electricity they are using,” said freshman Amber Kakkar.  

Using LED Christmas lights can allow for the energy that would have been otherwise wasted to be used in more productive ways.  This electricity could be used to charge phones, heat houses, make food, and also deduct from our already increasing electricity usage.

This holiday season, should you feel compelled to consider the science behind these beautiful lights, perhaps you will want decorate with an LED bulb for the sake of our environment!