Is your holiday energy use naughty or nice?

(ACEEE blog, 3 Dec 2018) This year, give the gift of energy efficiency. Whether you’re visiting family, decorating the brightest house on the block, or staying in with festive movies and treats, here are some ways to save energy during the holiday season.


Don’t worry, we won’t tell you to nix your holiday light show—at least, not entirely. There are a lot of easy steps you can take to make your festive displays more energy efficient.

  • Switch to LED lights. Outside or on your tree, LED string lights will shine bringer and last ten times longer (link is external) than outdated incandescent lights. Worried about the bright white normally associated with LEDs? LED lights come in a variety of colors, including a “warm white” for that old-time holiday glow. LEDs are also safer than incandescent lights because they operate at much lower temperatures (link is external). They’re less expensive, too—using a LED lamp over the holidays will cost you an estimated $0.45, compared to $5 for mini incandescent string lights and $75 for large incandescent string lights!
  • Set a timer (link is external). Your lights don’t need to be on all night! Putting your decorations on a timer will save money and electricity, while conserving your lightbulbs for the times of day when they’re most visible.
  • Use a power strip. Did you know that lights and other electronic decorations plugged directly into your wall may use small amounts of energy (link is external) even when they’re turned off? Plugging them into a power strip and then turning the strip off helps avoid energy leakage—and makes it easier to turn all your decorations on and off at once.
  • Turn off ambient lights. Chances are, you don’t need to have both your Christmas tree lights and your house lights on. Adjust your indoor lighting to account for your decor, especially when you have glowing decorations.
  • Decorate without electricity (link is external)! There are many ways to decorate that require no electricity at all. Reflective decorations like tinsel and mirrors can glimmer (link is external) just as brightly as lightbulbs. The holidays are also a great time to get crafty with your family and make homemade decorations like colorful wreaths, paper chains, and popcorn strings.

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ACEEE blog, 3 Dec 2018: Is your holiday energy use naughty or nice?