Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Eco-Friendly Holiday Lights

Let there be Light this Holiday Season!

How you can be festive this Holiday Season without being an energy vampire

A large portion of the energy used during the holidays goes to power Christmas and other special holiday lights. This season, why not try eco-friendly alternatives that are still unique but save you money?


  • LED lights

xmaslightsIf you can’t go a Christmas without gazing at colorful, bright lights on the tree and outside the house, consider buying LED lights. LED lights consume less energy watts per string than regular lights. Admittedly more expensive to buy than regular lights, LEDs will save you money when it comes time to pay the electricity bill without sacrificing beauty.

  • Solar-powered lights

Solar-powered lights work by collecting sunlight through a solar panel which powers the rechargeable battery that is included with every set of solar-powered lights. These lights are eco-friendly and, unlike regular lights, still work even if one bulb goes out.

  • Laser Projectors

Although relatively new to the holiday light market, laser projectors are great alternatives to string lights. One laser projector can emit thousands of small bright lights onto your house or tree. You don’t have to worry about bulbs going out or tangled wires with a laser projection system.

  • Candles

Before lights on a string came around, Christmas trees were decorated with candles. This can easily be recreated at home by using a couple of small candles. Look for candles made out of soy or beeswax as they last longer and burn cleaner.

Follow these simple steps to give your tree a touch of light: First, select a few sturdy branches on your tree. Pour some melted candle wax onto the end of the branch. Secure the candle onto the branch with the melted wax. Make sure the wax is completely dry and the candle is secure before letting it continue to burn.

  • Popcorn

Nothing says old school Christmas like sitting around with your family, stringing popcorn. This is a great alternative to lights and any plastic ornaments in general. Reuse the string afterwards and feed the corn to birds.

Top Tips

  • Safety

Whenever you are dealing with lights, always be careful to prevent electric shocks or fires. Do not place electrical wiring near water, and keep wires free from tangles and away from children and pets.

  • Choose lights that are low voltage

Regular Christmas lights use around 100 watts of energy per string. Choose lights that use less than this. The Christmas Lighting Energy Calculator is a useful tool to calculate not just the energy consumption of your holiday lights, but also the estimated electricity costs.

  • Turn on your lights for a couple hours a day

Instead of keeping your lights on for the whole day, turn on your lights at night for a couple hours until bedtime. Not only is turning your lights during the day a waste of energy and money, no one can fully enjoy lights under the sun.

  • Turn off your lights when you aren’t at home

Other Considerations

  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Sometimes less strings of lights used is better. For the Christmas tree, fill in the empty space with homemade ornaments and popcorn strings.

Reuse your holiday lights. Keep them in a storage box until the next holiday season.

If your Christmas lights no longer work, recycle them at your local recycling center or send them to a center that recycles lights at no cost.

  • DIY ornaments from home

Make your own ornaments instead of shopping for plastic ones. Use items found around the house; something as simple as a small photo, to a piece of jewelry to even a small stuffed animal can work as an ornament. Try making ornaments that are unique and full of memories that you can reuse over the years.


  • …to your wallet

Many Christmas light alternatives are easier on the wallet right away. However, for some alternatives like LED lights, you have to wait to enjoy the cost benefits until the electricity bill is received.

  • …to the Earth

Eco-friendly lighting alternatives reduce energy consumption, which saves natural resources, such as coal. Greenhouse gas emissions are also decreased when less energy is used.

For more information

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree…

Eco-Friendly Lighting Overview

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