Turns out, the energy they use is A LOT. That's because standard holiday lights are just mini incandescents, one of the most ineffecient ways we light our homes today.
These little lights are annoying for a couple of other reasons. They break very easily; and if one bulb burns out, you often have to throw away the whole strand.
The alternative? LEDs.
Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, are exceptionally energy efficient; depending on the design, LEDs may use up to 90% less energy than an incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of light.
For example, the amount of electricity consumed by just one 7-watt incandescent bulb could power 140 LEDs - enough to light two 24-foot (7.3-meter) strings.
LED Features & Benefits
• Use 80% - 90% less energy than traditional incandescent holiday lights
• ENERGY STAR® qualified models help consumers choose efficient lights
• Can last up to 10 times longer than traditional incandescent lights
• Cool to the touch, reducing the risk of fire
• No filaments or glass, so they are much more durable and shock resistant than other lights
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, if all decorative light strings sold in America this year were ENERGY STAR qualified, we would save over 700 million kWh of electricity per year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from about 100,000 cars!
Like several other appliances, energy-efficient LEDs are somewhat more expensive to buy than their energy-wasting counterparts, a fact you might find hard to over look even though you'll make up the extra costs over time on your energy bill. To help ease the pain, several companies are offering discount coupons that encourage you to recycle your existing, energy-wasting bulbs and replace them with LEDs.
LED colored lights HolidayLEDs.com
Send your old lights to HolidayLEDs, and they'll not only recycle them for you but send you a coupon good for 25% off any purchase of LED Christmas lights at HolidayLEDs.com. This program works. In 2009-2010, people like you sent in more than 10,000 pounds of old lights for recycling.
The recycling program is open all year round.
If you wanted to participate in the Home Depot light recycling program and were unable to redeem your coupon or would simply like to purchase your lights from HolidayLEDs.com instead, you may exchange your Home Depot coupon for a HolidayLEDs.com coupon by completing this form.
You may elect to receive 1 coupon good for 25% off your entire order at HolidayLEDs.com or 1 coupon good for $3.00 off any 1 LED Christmas light set for each Home Depot coupon you exchange up to five. All coupons will expire on December 31, 2011.
In case you're curious about how the incandescent lights are recycled, here's the scoop: they're put through a commercial shredder, which chops the lights up into little pieces. The pieces are then further processed and sorted into the various components that make up the lights (pvc, glass, copper.) The materials are separated and transported to a region center for further processing.
Here's how to pack up your lights before you send them to:
Attn: Recycling Program
118 Rosehill Dr.
Jackson, MI 49202
Include your name and email address, since all coupons will be emailed.
Christmas Light Source will also recycle your lights, and give you a 10% discount towards the purchase of new LEDs. This program makes money from selling the recycled components, and uses all proceeds to purchase Usborne books that they donate to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.
Since Usborne Books offers a 50% match on donations, for every $100 in proceeds from Christmas lights recycling, $150 in educational children's books will be purchased and donated to the Dallas/Fort Worth Marine Toys for Tots center.
The company asks that you box up broken lights and send them "the cheapest and slowest way" possible to:
Christmas Light Source Recycling Program
1923 6th Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76110
Please include your name, address and email address (mandatory if you want the discount code) and you'll receive an emailed code good for 10% off a single order of Christmas lights (one rebate coupon per household).
LED energy star bulbs Sears and KMart: Trade in to Trade up to Energy Star program
Sears and Kmart will offer you a $4 coupon for every incandescent light set you bring in to recycle. To receive the coupon, take your lights to a Sears or KMart now through Nov. 20.For more information, get your own copy of Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World. Sign up for our free newsletter tips at www.biggreenpurse.com.