For many of us, Christmas lights on our trees, around our mantels and even in our gardens are essential seasonal decorations. They create such a cozy, atmospheric glow that it's tempting to turn them on indoors during the day, as well as at night. This helps to contribute to the fact that we currently consume much more energy at home over Christmas, which in turn has an impact on the environment and climate change. So it's worth switching to LED tree lights, as well as using energy-efficient light bulbs in your home.
If you leave a set of conventional Christmas tree lights on in your home for 10 hours a day over the 12 days of Christmas, you'll produce enough carbon dioxide - one of the main greenhouse gases - to inflate 64 party balloons. Outdoor lights tend to use even more energy, since they are usually high-wattage and, therefore, less energy-efficient. However, it's easy to save energy and still enjoy a wonderful light display.
Light-emitting diode, or LED, Christmas tree lights emit a bright, vibrant light that uses 80 percent less energy than conventional tree lights. They are also longer-lasting and stay cooler than traditional bulbs because they don't have a filament. The brilliance of their color makes LED lights suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Solar-powered lights are also a good choice, as even on a wintry day they can soak up enough sun to illuminate an indoor or outdoor Christmas tree without the need for an electricity supply.
Like LED lights, energy-saving bulbs use around a quarter of the electricity of standard bulbs and last up to 12 times longer. Advances in technology mean that these bulbs are now sold in a range of fittings, shapes and sizes. Look for government and industry-approved energy-saving logos to find the most energy-efficient products when you shop.
A household with an extravagant Christmas light display will spend enough money to heat and power an average house for six weeks, and produce 882 pounds of carbon dioxide - more than enough to fill two double-decker buses.
Only 10 percent of the electricity used to light an ordinary light bulb is turned into light. The other 90 percent is wasted as heat.
If every household only used energy-efficient bulbs, enough energy could be saved to close several power plants.
One energy-efficient light bulb will save up to $14 and around 88 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. And because it lasts up to 12 times longer, it could save around $120 before it needs replacing. These savings take into account the higher cost of energy-saving light bulbs.
Recycle all energy-efficient light bulbs safely, as they contain small amounts of mercury: Wear gloves to pick up a bulb, put it in a plastic bag and recycle it at a local recycling facility.