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How Much Money do LED Christmas Lights Save?

One of the major advantages of LED holiday lights, in addition to their added safety and longer life span, is the amount of energy they save. We’ve previously posted some detailed calculations to help you estimate how much money you’ll save on electric bills based on how many and what kind of LED bulbs you use.

But if you’d just like a quick back-of-the-napkin estimate, this typical holiday decorating scenario shows how you could save more than $150 in energy bills over the next decade by using LED lights instead of traditional ones. Here’s a snapshot of the math:

One traditional incandescent mini light bulb used for holiday lighting uses about .5 watts of energy. A typical LED holiday bulb uses about 1/10 the amount of energy, or about .06 watts. Let’s say you use two basic strands of incandescent lights with 50 bulbs each to decorate your tree and three to light up the outside of your house. If you ran those lights four hours a night for a month, the cost would be about $18, based on the average cost of electricity in the United States. The cost savings are much more significant if we consider a much larger display or a situation where the decorator switches from the larger C7 or C9 style incandescent lamps to LED. A typical incandescent C9 bulb uses 7 watts of power while an LED C9 uses less than one. The larger the scale of the project the more quickly the cost savings will add up.

If you switched to LED lights, though the cost to run those holiday lights would be less than $2 for the entire month. So multiplying those savings over 10 years shows you could save $160. Obviously, this number will vary depending on how elaborate your decorating habits are and what kind of products you use. But it demonstrates that, over time, switching to LED lights can save serious cash, as well as reducing demand for electricity that’s only likely to become more expensive unless we begin to invest in more efficient and environmentally friendly options.

So what could you do with that $160? Well, it would buy two bicycles or scooters for your kids, a decent fly rod, three months of a gym membership, a pair of knee-high leather boots or an electric lawnmower. Or, you could simply save it, knowing that your choice to use LED holiday lights will pay all sorts of dividends long into the future.