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Greensburg GreenTown is a charitable nonprofit organization working in Greensburg, Kansas to rebuild the town following the devastating tornado in May of 2007. The town has made a remarkable comeback, reinventing itself as a model for sustainable building and green living now recognized around the world. GreenTown works to make green building and living easily understood, appealing and accessible to all.

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« Gusts Toward Clean Energy | Main | A Recycle Christmas »
Thursday
Dec012011

Lighting Up the Holidays

Image Courtesy of the Department of EnergyIn the past, Christmas lights have used incandescent bulbs encased in painted glass. They burned hot, broke easily and flaked with age. Often when one bulb was broken, the entire string failed to light. LED or Light Emitting Diode holiday lights, are an alternative that can not only save you money, but they offer numerous other benefits as well.  LED holiday lights use approximately 90 percent less energy than standard incandescent lights. Since LED light strings use less energy, it is safer to connect multiple strings without overloading the light socket. LED holiday lights, which are encased in plastic, are much more durable and can last you up to 20,000 hours (about 40 holiday seasons). LED lights are also much cooler than incandescent, reducing the the risk of fire or injury. To find manufacturers and brands check out the Energy Star website.

The Department of Energy estimates that if every household switched to using LED holiday lights, the country would save approximately $410 million in electricity costs. In addition to holiday lights, LEDs are also used in traffic lights, exit signs, large display screens, signal and interior lights in automobiles, desk lamps, under-cabinet lights, porch lights, and street lights (including Greensburg’s street lights). LED bulbs are a newer and more expensive technology that is not as commonly used as either incandescent or CFL bulbs, but they are steadily decreasing in price. Since LED lights have such a long life span and are extremely efficient, they are a good option for lights that are on for long periods of time. For more information on LEDs and other lighting tips check out this Guide to Energy Efficient Lighting by the Department of Energy.