Ways to Sparkle—and Save

Deck the halls with energy efficiency in mind.

From sparkling lights to tinsel and colorful ornaments, the holiday spirit is upon us. It often includes decorating our homes inside and out with bright, colorful lights. LED lights are an energy-efficient and safer choice for holiday lighting. Click the video to see how a local light display is using LEDs to spread holiday cheer while using energy responsibly.

Offer highly efficient technology

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) offer energy savings of up to 95% compared to traditional incandescent lights. Not only are LEDs available in a wide range of colors and brightness, LEDs can last up to 10 times longer (100,000 hours) than traditional lighting sources. The estimated cost of electricity to light one string for eight hours per day for 45 days is $0.25* in comparison to $8.28* for a traditional incandescent C-9 light and $1.89* for mini-lights.

When selecting your holiday LEDs, be sure to look for the ENERGY STAR® label. ENERGY STAR products meet strict energy efficiency guidelines established by the Environmental Protection Agency.

*Cost based on $0.13 per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

Safer than traditional incandescents

LEDs are made from tiny solid chips that convert electricity to light without using a filament or glass bulb. Instead, the chips are contained within a plastic shell that is made into a variety of shapes and sizes. This makes the bulbs sturdier and more resistant to breakage.

In addition, LED bulbs do not heat up so they remain cool to the touch. Due to the low wattage offered per bulb, up to 20 strings can be connected end-to-end without overloading a typical household's electrical circuit. When purchasing LED lights, be sure they are rated for your particular use (indoor vs. outdoor) and are UL labeled.

Holiday Fantasy in Lights offers LED light displays through Jan. 2

Holiday Fantasy in Lights, located in Madison's Olin Park, is a 28-year-old holiday tradition. The free light display switched over nearly 15,000 incandescent bulbs to LEDs in 2009. Since, the display has been able to reduce its energy consumption by 82%.

The public is invited to drive through and enjoy more than 50 light displays between 4:30 and 10 p.m. daily. This free display is made possible by the Electric Group, a partnership between National Electrical Contractors Association and MGE's own International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers IBEW Local 2304, as well as a number of other area sponsors. In lieu of an entry fee, Holiday Fantasy in Lights accepts donations for Second Harvest Food Bank.

Have old holiday lights to dispose of?

If you're a Madison property owner, you can drop off old holiday lights and extension cords for recycling. For details, visit the City of Madison webpage for drop-off site hours and locations.

published: 12-02-2016