Extravagant decorative lighting is a fundamental component of the festivity and cheer that comes with the holiday season. Depending on the choice of lighting, however, this can mean far less than festivity and cheer for the environment and for residents’ wallets. Many common holiday lights are incandescent or low-efficiency fluorescent bulbs, wasting large amounts of money and energy.
Two years ago, the Town of Wellesley began using LED lights on trees and at Town Hall. These lights use 65-90% less energy than the old incandescent bulbs and have resulted in a 75% decrease in municipal energy use on holiday lighting, saving roughly $7,000 per year.
LED lights are the right choice for residents who want to save money on their electric bill. They last up to ten times as long as incandescents, making them more reliable and less costly to replace. LED lights also run much cooler than incandescent bulbs, reducing fire risks both indoors and outdoors.
“About five years ago, LED lights were only available in blue and looked a little bit weird. And they cost a lot more,” said Quentin Prideaux of Sustainable Wellesley. “Then they got much better and in the last few years the price has plummeted, so if you’re buying lights now, LED is really your only sensible choice.”
Other ways to sustainably manage holiday lighting include turning off lights by 11pm or setting them on a timer that turns them off when nobody is awake to see them. For more information on easy ways to save energy and money during the holidays, visit sustainablewellesley.com.
(Matthew Hornung and Keenan Ashbrook)