Buying Bulbs, Saving for Our Future

By Monique O’Grady

This year’s holiday electric bill will probably be a belated gift. This Department of Energy stat shows why: the estimated electricity cost to light a 6-foot tree with C-9 incandescent light strands will add $10.00 to an energy bill during a 40-day holiday season. But, by using C-9 LED strands, the cost is just 27 cents. I used three LED strands on my tree, but I also changed out an additional seven strands for other decorating needs. That should make a noticeable difference.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), if every decorative light string purchased in the United States this year earned the ENERGY STAR, we would:

  • Prevent 900 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to the emissions from about 80,000 cars.
  • Save more than 600 million kWh of electricity.
  • Save about $65 million in annual energy costs.

The USIlluminations Christmas tree during the holiday season.

recent estimate by the Department of Energy shows that by 2030, the energy savings from increased use of LED lights will reach $30 billion a year. In 2013 we expect to see more LED options on the market and prices continuing to drop. And 2013 also promises some of the first 100-watt LED equivalents – another gift that keeps on giving!  Look for the ENERGY STAR on these bulbs to ensure they have passed all the rigorous tests required by the EPA’s strict ENERGY STAR requirements.

Initially these 100-watt LED equivalents will be pricey — about $50 a bulb — but one manufacturer estimates each bulb will save $220 in energy costs over its 25,000-hour lifespan (or more than 20 years).