Saturday, December 10, 2011
I'll Have a 'Green' Christmas
Have you guys ever thought about what all of our wonderful Christmas traditions are doing to our planet?
For instance, all of our pretty lights. Yeah, those twinkly ones hung on our houses, in our bushes and trees, on our front porches, and of course on our Christmas trees.
Those little lights burn a lotta energy! And energy production, until we all convert to cleaner production methods, is hard on the environment. Think of all the coal and oil being burnt and emitted into the atmosphere. Think of the waste and hazard created by nuclear power plants.
Not only that, think of our bank accounts! Our big energy bills come and let's face it, they take some of the fun out of the merry displays.
What to do, what to do...
Why, switch to LED lights, of course!
I know that LEDs seem more expensive to buy than the oldskool Christmas lights we all have in our garages/attics/basements waiting to be put up. But hear me out.
Think of switching to LEDs as an investment. In your wallet, and in our Earth.
For one thing, LEDs last much longer than traditional lights. Thousands of hours longer. (According to the Department of Energy, the best white LEDs have been found to have a useful life of about 35,000 hours, or four years of continuous operation.)
And if one bulb burns out, the rest of the strand stays lit! How nifty is that? Because not all of us get pleasure from searching a whole strand of Christmas lights for the one troublemaker in the bunch, right? ;)
LEDs also run cooler, reducing the risk of fires. Safety's always a good thing.
Probably most importantly though, is the energy savings with LEDs. The United States own Department of Energy has estimated that if all Americans replaced their old strings of Christmas lights with the new LED strands, over 2 billion kilowatt hours of energy could be saved just in the winter month of December. Apparently, that is enough to power 200,000 American homes for a full year. (Did you read that?? Power 200,000 homes? For a YEAR??)
Still not convinced? What if you didn't have to open your December and January electric bills with trepidation? What if you could display your Christmas lights for a few months and pay only a few cents per strand, versus a nice chunk of your hard-earned cash?
A 280 bulb strand of LEDs costs about 56 cents to run for 12 hours a day over the course of 40 days. A 300 bulb strand of the mini incandescents cost $6.03. And those big old fashioned bulbs, the ones that bring back so many memories? Just one 125 watt strand costs $25.13! (By the way, they now make large bulb LED strands that look similar to the old C-7s.) These are the stats for just ONE strand of lights, my friends. I don't know about you, but I like to use a lot more than one strand.. the cost adds up!
Plus, do we really need our lights on for 12 hours a day? I'm thinkin no. If we put them on a timer, or turn them off when we go to bed, we can cut that energy use in half.
I'm not saying let's all run out and spend our Christmas budgets on switching all of our lights over right now. But what if we replaced just one, or a few, strands per year? Every bit helps!
By the way, when those incandescents burn out beyond repair, or you decide to change over to LEDs, don't just throw them in the trash! Take them to be recycled. It's easy to find somewhere near you that will do it.
I hope I've made you think a lil bit. If just one person decides to make a change, that's a start!
Sources: one and two