Lighting Up Holidays the Green Way

Brightening the Holiday Spirit 

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I have started to decorate for Christmas. I love lights, and could never imagine a holiday without them. I know this is not very environmental, so I have researched ways to make it as environmental as possible. This year I have started my own collection of Christmas lights of my own. I decided that on short notice and low budget LED lights are my best option.

Holiday lights have become quite the tradition all over the United States. It goes along with the capitalistic/materialistic view of the holidays, which we have all been trapped into believing, me included. Lights are not only expensive to purchase, but all those lights on at all hours of the night take a toll on your electricity bill, as well as your environment.

LED, Your Gift for the Planet

  • According to the Department of Energy, Holiday lights account for more than 6 terawatt-hours per year, the total electricity consumption of 500,000 homes.  (The majority of lights being incandescent).
  • Incandescent lights burn out quicker than LED lights which last as much as 10 times longer.
  • LED lights have significantly less risk to cause a fire. LEDs also don’t contain mercury.
  • When LED lights started they were often not as bright or attractive as incandescent lights, but with the increase of technology, they are almost identical in my opinion, that is if you find the right brands.
  • LEDs use 80% less energy then incandescent lights.

Throw Away Those Old Lights? 

If you have large incandescence replace them now with LED lights. But if you have mini-incandesent lights you should keep your old lights (if they are still safe to use), until they burn out. Then I recommend switching to LED lights. . If you throw out all your perfectly good christmas lights it creates a huge amount of waste and pollutes the environment.

When you are done with your lights don’t throw them away! Find a local recycling program.

Home Depot offers a trade in where you can get a discount on LED lights. (Although this program has passed for this year watch for it next year). Similar programs can be found with discounts on LED lights such as on Holiday LEDs

Greenest way to Brighten Your Home? 

Solar LED lights have the least environmental impact of all the possible lights that you can use. Solar lights use the solar panel, (photovoltaic cell) which collects sun’s energy and converts it to electric current. The battery is used to store electricity until it is used. LED bulbs turn on when it is dark. Being a new technology they do have some differences in brightness and availability. There are mixed reviews depending on weather, so before buying them make sure your yard would be able to have adequate light.


  • Easy to setup: don’t have to worry about outlets and cords
  • Convenient: turn on automatically.
  • Safety: No extension cords, lights stay cooler.
  • Free Energy: solar powered


  • Initial Price: is expensive, but less electrical bills.
  • Sunlight dependent: Without adequate sunlight they won’t shine as long
  • Weather: snow, rain, cold/cloudy can prevent adequate sunlight.

What You Can Do to Keep the Holiday Spirit  

  • Instead of putting up every strand of lights you own, do a smaller presentation of lights.
  • Use LED lights instead of regular lights.
  • Use mini-lights instead of full-sized lights.
  • Turn lights off once you go to sleep.
  • If you live in a place where solar lights are functional use them instead.

What lights will you be using this year? Do you think LED or LED solar is a better option for you?

Those Christmas lights, Light up the street, Down where the sea and city meet, May all your troubles soon be gone, Oh Christmas Lights Keep Shining on



About lewis162

Check out my Environmental blog My Blog from when I was abroad (Switzerland)

Posted on December 2, 2011, in Energy, environment, Holiday/Christmas, Trash, Uncategorized, Woldwide and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Concerned for the environment

    What great ideas! I am going to slowly convert over to LED and will try to find some solar powered lights-I am lucky to live where they may work. Thank you!

  2. Thanks for this great round up of information on LED lights. I definitely plan to transition over as my small incandescent bulbs burn out.

  3. Solar LED’s are a great idea. They can also be used as emergency lights when the power goes out. Rather than scurrying around looking for candles or flashlights, go out to the yard, and bring in a few solar LED lights and place them strategically around the house. No risk of fire and they last most if not all of the night.

    Have you looked at the cost of decommissioning solar LED? That is a concern for me because I know that each one has a lot of electronic components that may be hard to recycle (they may not be, I simply don’t know). Have you looked into the “recyclability” of these lights? If so, I would be interested to see what you have come up with.

    • I was unable to find anything on the decommissioning of solar LED lights. I did find things on solar light recycling programs though, I am not sure if they take Christmas lights but I would think so. I found this website . I think since they are a fairly new more and more about recycling will come about if their popularity increases, as of now they need to improve them to make them worth the purchase. You need to be careful of too cheap of solar lights or else they will not work in the long term.

      • Thanks for your response to my comment and thanks very much for the link to the recycling program. I like to be able to think of the cradle to grave costs of every purchase so that I can really say how much of an environmental impact I am leaving, but it is really hard to work out these costs if we don’t have a cost for decommissioning of the products at the end of their useful lives.

        Happy New Year.

  4. Great post! I have lots of LED’S in my life and was wondering about holiday options. You have just answered all of the questions I was asking myself…thanks!!

  5. This was a very great post! I never knew how to be environmentally green for the holidays, and know I know how to make a difference. What I really enjoyed reading was how you compared and contrasted LED and incandescent lights, I found that to be a very strong argument. It was also nice reading about how to dispose of my Christmas lights. Thanks!

  6. greenlifechronicles

    Great information for those who are new and want to do something to decrease their print! Thanks for the post! I just bought a couple strands of LED lights for the first time this year and I love them, I’ll pry get some solar LED’s next year. They are really cool too, there are some that do some really cool tricks, you know…change color, dance with music, yeah, they got all the bells and whistles that conventional lights don’t. How’s that for saving more energy 🙂

  7. We are trying to help promote green energy, if you or anyone at your school has any original content, please contact our site. Thank you.

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