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Do you love those displays of Christmas (or Hannukah or Kwanza or ...) lights?  Are you awed by those so impassioned that they string up 1000s of lights in awesome displays worthy of a city center? I once did, pausing on cold winter nights, white clouds issuing from my mouth, enjoying being in the glow of beautiful displays.  And, in a way, I was inspired that they would spend $1000s (or $10,000s) on displays and the electricity to power them so that others could enjoy the sight on those cold winter nights.  

But ... no longer ... not for awhile. Far too often nowadays, my winter evenings I can wear short sleeve shirts rather than bulky coats and gloves. And, energy is no longer a question simply of money. I've reached the point of feeling like a Scrooge -- feeling outrage over the tons of C02 going into the atmosphere via neighbors' 10,000 light displays rather than feeling 'joyous'.

But, a compromise does exist ... there is a path for me to not be McScrooge ... that is to use LED lights.  But, far too many are unwilling to spend the money upfront to cut their electricial use, reduce their pollution, and -- actually -- save quite a lot of money.

My household is dominated by Compact Flourescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) (see Making Energy CENTS -- From the Home to the Globe) and now I am putting in light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in recessed lighting (elxcellent light and dims well, unlike CFLs). When going to dine with friends, in one hand is the bottle of wine and the other carries CFL bulbs.

The Holiday season brings me to extend this into the domain of decorative lighting -- of replacing incandescents with LED Christmas lights.

In the hardware store last weekend, I was pleased to see real options for LED lighting -- even if there were 20 times as many incandescents as LEDs.  While stopping to admire the LEDs, I convinced two people to pony the upfront investment in LED Christmas lights.  Those four boxes -- what a signal achievement -- were overwhelmed by the flow of traditional bulbs.  The woman who had to buy 40 boxes for her new McMansion simply said that she couldn't afford the LEDs ...

How many pounds of carbon will go into the atmosphere to support her 4000 lightbulbs? And, in pure cash terms, how much will she spend for electricity? And, how many multiples will that be of the LED lightbulbs price?  But, she has the Walmartization issue of the sticker price rather than having any clue as to the long term implications of what she's bought/buying.

Hmmm -- let us work the numbers and understand what is going on here.

  • 100 old-style incandescents at 5 watts each = 500 watts
  • 12 hours / day for 30 days:  = 360 hours
  • One month of lights on all night:  180 kilowatts
  • 180 kwh @ 8 cents kwh = $16.40

That is the traditional incandescent option, let us try this with LEDs.

We can look to mini-bulbs, which use roughly a tenth of that, or .5 watts each.  Thus, that 360 hours of 100 lights would run $1.64.

And, then, there are LEDs, which cut the power required by another 90 percent.

  • 100 LEDs at .05 watts each  = 5 watts ... (based on this LED lighting)
  • going through the same calculation ...
  • 1.8 kwh @ 8 cents kwh = $0.14 (actually, 14.4 cents)

At 8 cents per kilowatt hour (below the average domestic price in the United States), the incandescents cost $16.24 more per year to own/operate.  

  • Traditional incandescents cost: $3.99/string (before tax)
  • LEDs:  $26.99/string

At $16.24 less per string per year, the LEDs would be paid off in less than 2 years and keep on saving.

And, if one is going to be putting on lights, the incandescents would put out roughly 250-300 pounds of CO2 in that month versus the roughly two pounds from LEDs.  

And, of course, all these calculations are just for one string of lights. Driving around the community, 2500 light displays are not unusual and there are a few that must have over 10,000 lights.  And, there are the public displays, including parks with miles of Christmas light displays.  Just how much electicity is being burned and how much carbon going into the air to support these displays?

We will be in a far better situation when people celebrate through taking a deep breath of fresh air rather than adding those tons of C02 with 24/7 light pollution.

If you love Christmas lights, time to get rid of those incandescents and replace them with LEDs.  They are available on online (an example) and in an ever growing number of stores.

By the way, there are even more benefits to LEDs as, due to the lower power requirements, the LEDs can have MUCH longer strings (easily 10x the bulbs in one string), are FAR less likely to cause fires, are nearly indestructable, and last FAR longer (probably would be working 50 years from now).

Thus, again, if you love Christmas light displays, buy yourself a gift and replace your incandescent strings with LEDs ...

  • Your pocketbook will thank you ...
  • Earth will thank you ...

And, I will thank you ... As, for me, a true tipping point in the battle against Global Warming will be when I don't feel like Scrooge ... and we start pulling the plugs on non-LED lights ...

PS:  And Daily Kos Environmentalists will likely also thank you ...

PSPS:  See Making Energy Cents - From Home to the Globefor a discussion of how I discovered that my CFLs were providing me a 200% Return on Investment (ROI) every year, year in and year out.

Originally posted to A Siegel on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 09:13 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  My tip ... (26+ / 0-)

    Run, don't walk (but walk rather than drive), to the nearest hardware store ... replace those incandescent Christmas lights ASAP with LEDs and start saving the earth while saving money ...

    Or, am I just a McScrooge?

    The Energy Conversation: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

    by A Siegel on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 09:13:48 PM PST

  •  i use the CFLs, too. pretty much (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, va dare

    as 'Green' as i get. and, i'm mostly a Scrooge all year long.

    call mean's radio show at 1-800-853-6035 11:30pm to 2:30am EST

    by meangene on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 09:20:21 PM PST

  •  It's dark in Minnesota when I go to work (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scionkirk, Miss Blue, esquimaux

    And it's dark when I come home. I say leave the lights up. They brighten the landscape during the winter when many suffer from depression. LEDs are ok with me.  

     title=

    Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity. Horace Mann (and btw, the bike in kayakbiker is a bicycle)

    by Kayakbiker on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 09:23:27 PM PST

  •  they make LED christmas lights? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian

    and if they do how much do they cost compared to traditional christmas lights?

    Cost difference can eat up that energy savings pretty quickly.

    If a democrat demands accountability in the Capital and no one covers it, does he make a sound?

    by DawnG on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 09:24:17 PM PST

    •  Addressed in diary (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Miss Blue, cosette, Fabian, potownman, A Siegel

      At 8 cents per kilowatt hour (below the average domestic price in the United States), the incandescents cost $16.24 more per year to own/operate.  

         * Incandescents cost: $3.99/string (before tax)
         * LEDs:  $26.99/string

      At $16.24 less per string per year, the LEDs would be paid off in less than 2 years and keep on saving.

      thanks for the information.  I was not aware of this option either.

      •  Oh, and by the way (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        potownman, A Siegel

        I LOVE Christmas lights.  I'm glad to hear there may be a minimal-guilt way to enjoy them.

      •  I bought mine for $12 at Target (5+ / 0-)

        of course, I only bought them because I want to computerize them and I didn't want them to burn out while I was switching them on and off.  Otherwise, I would be far too scroogely to even think about buying Christmas lights.  I did think about buying some of the $1.47 strings Target had, but that just seemed like a waste of resources, mostly because they'd end up in the trash a lot sooner.

        I tried to get the led lights last year after Christmas, but nobody had any left.  They aren't nearly as likely to burn out, and they are probably safer.  

        Target did have a fairly wide selection of leds.  They really weren't that much more than the high quality incandescents, I think those were $10.00.

        •  Thanks for the info ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cosette, Simplify

          My $25 was at the local hardware store -- thus it was the price literally staring me in the face.  Should have noted that this is the pricey local store (buy there because it is close, local ownership, they're involved in the community, and give great service -- thus, I pay a premium to reduce Walmartization of my community (while also saving gas because I walk there rather than driving to a warehouse hardware store).

          The Energy Conversation: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

          by A Siegel on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 10:26:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Count the bulbs (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          unterhausen, cosette, DrFood

          Marketing and packaging are everything.  The LED packages I saw had half the number of bulbs that the standard ones did.  This was true for everything from strings to novelty to tube lights.

          So right now LEDs are running twice the price.  This will not stop me from buying them - on sale!  Besides, I'm content to wait.  The LED products are getting better and better.  Check out the current selection of LED flashlights and battery operated minilights!  The selection is easily double what it was a year ago.

          It makes waiting an exercise in anticipation! ;D

          We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

          by Fabian on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 06:44:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  A Seigel... (7+ / 0-)

    great diary - I too used to be a display-lover but now, I just sigh, thinking what a waste. I live in Appalachian Virginia - if the rest of the country could see, would bother to look at what I'm forced to look at every day, e.g., mountaintop removal, strip-mining of coal, perhaps their attitudes would change. Well, I can still dream, can't I?

    "We Americans are better than what has been done in our name." Michael Moore

    by va dare on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 09:26:23 PM PST

    •  Tragic... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fabian, va dare

      I'm so sorry that is happening to your state.  I think it should have been banned, long ago.

      Assuming that Federal mine oversight isn't eviscerated at the same time, of course.

      To announce...that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.

      by potownman on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 09:34:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As I said at the MoveOn.org,,,, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, Kayakbiker, Drocket

    home viewing party of An Inconvenient Truth - the quickest way to turn people OFF the message is to take away their Christmas lights.

    You have a very valid point about LED, but unless we're talking to the choir, I think we better save this speech until the vast majority see the danger.

    "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine Pay attention Georgie - 2945+ dead Americans. Jesus Christ, make it stop already.

    by Miss Blue on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 09:27:24 PM PST

    •  Point being ... (4+ / 0-)

      Compare that LED display with the Incandescent ...

      For a month of 12 hours / day, the Incandescent will put 100s of pounds of carbon into the air.  The LEDs carbon contribution would be counted in pounds.

      And, switching to LEDs would save real money -- serious amounts, potentially -- through reduced electrical demand.

      And, as discussed, this can be a compromise-- a meeting in the middle, so to speak -- that has Christmas light displays in a far more friendly way.

      There are three questions in energy (my next diary):

      • Source of power -- and implications of that source
      • Efficiency of use
      • What we use the power for

      Starting with the last, usage, objective here is to have Christmas lights, no?  To have 'beautiful displays', no?

      Traditional path is using incandescents, which are not long-lasting, can cause fires, and use a large amount of electricity -- especially when compared to the now widely available LED option.  One can use a small fraction (a percent) of the power and achieve not just the same, but better (safer, easier to string, longer-lasting -- will to grandchildren) results

      Source of power -- 50% of US electricity comes from coal ... do we really want West Virginia mountaintops being razed for Christmas light displays?  Is that desecration what the holiday is about?

      Rational people don't call for people to live in the dark -- but do call on people to use CFLs, as much as possible, as a path to reducing electrical demand.  This is a similar call for rationality ...

      The Energy Conversation: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

      by A Siegel on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 09:36:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  and they don't burn out (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fabian, Simplify, A Siegel, ilyana

        I'm probably not as good at saving energy as I should be, but I hate buying crap that I'm going to throw away right away.  I'd rather not buy something than buy crap.  Throwing away a string of lights because one bulb burns out just strikes me as wrong.  So we are buying leds if I have anything to do with it.

        •  I'm happy with my novelty lights. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel, ilyana

          I got four strings for $10 post season sale.  Cheap, cheap, cheap.  Happy, happy, happy!  One set is strung under the top bunk and my oldest uses it as a night light.  It has multiple LEDs and each unit cycles through various colors.  One year later - still going strong.

          We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

          by Fabian on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 06:48:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I gotta get out earlier this year (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Fabian

            the led strings are pretty picked through at Target already.  They were all gone when I looked last year.

          •  LED's make great night lights (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Fabian, A Siegel

            We got a bunch of glowing dragonflies at IKEA and set them up on the three-year old's curtain rod.

            Just this evening she noticed the other box of lights we got at the same time--flowers for the nursery window.  We put them up today--boy are those gorgeous!  They have a fiber optic effect and the outer rim of the flower petals glows.

            Universal Health Care - it's coming, but not soon enough!

            by DrFood on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 04:10:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Yep (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kayakbiker

    Now all they need to do is come up with a flavorless foodpaste that supplies all our nutrition needs!

    Recovering Intellectual. 12 days stupid.

    by scionkirk on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 09:27:46 PM PST

  •  Either the math is wrong, or an unfair comparison (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify, Kayakbiker, tvb

    For your incandescent lights numbers, I'm guessing that you're talking about the old-fashion giant bulb lights that virtually nobody (around here, anyway) uses anymore.  In that case, I really don't think its a fair comparison: though there ARE LED bulbs that try to mimic those giant bulbs by putting a plastic bubble around the LED, they're WAY dimmer than the incandescent version of the lights.  Bright colorful lights versus dim dull lights really isn't a fair comparison, IMO.  Maybe eventually they'll work out an LED version of those style of lights that don't suck, but they haven't yet.

    LEDs vs. mini-bulbs is a far fairer comparison, but in that case, your energy costs for incandescent bulbs is way too high.  Replacing mini-bulb lights with LEDs is a much more realistic trade-off.  Saying that you'll make the money back over time, though, is probably nonsense - one thing I've learned by long, hard experience is that NO string of Christmas lights ever lasts more than 3-4 years.   Every year you have to replace a quarter to a half of your lights...   I used to buy the overpriced brand name lights, until I discovered they died just as easily as the cheap crap.  And that's for well-established technology - I'd bet that LED Christmas lights will turn out to have the standard bleeding-edge defects that plague all products.  

    LED lights may be good for the environment, but they're going to need to come down in price a LOT before they're a real alternative.  Of course, considering how electronic technology advances, that'll probably only be 2-3 Christmases...

    •  To address your points ... (5+ / 0-)
      1.  The numbers that I used for the incandescent power requirement were drawn directly off one of the packages (can't remember brand/description) at the hardware store a week ago.  But, if mini-lights are the right standard, will edit the diary to provide that option ... as per below, just saw someone that provides a 90% reduction in the incandescent string's power requirements -- thus, this changes the calculations ...
      1.  For another's perspective, check out Michael Bluejay's Saving Electricitydiscussion of lighting (this site, by the way, is the single best site re household electrical use and thoughts and getting control of power use that I've seen).

      LED Christmas lights use 80-90% less electricity than standard holiday lights (which use 25 watts in a typical 50-bulb strand). LED lights also generate much less heat, so they're less likely to catch your Christmas tree on fire. Also, you can put a few strands of white lights on the ceiling and use it as mood lighting.

      LED holiday lights aren't quite as bright as standard bulbs, and the light they produce is brilliant white instead of normal yellowish light, but that's fine with us to get the 90% electricity savings. (And blue, yellow, and red are also available.) Another advantage is that the LED's are virtually indestructible -- they don't burn out like normal bulbs (not for about ten years, anyway), and they're not fragile like normal holiday lights. I actually unsuccessfully tried to crush one by standing on it on a concrete surface. I broke the decorative casing but was unable to break the LED bulb itself -- it still shone when I plugged it back in.

      The analysis on LEDs, in other circumstances, places them at significant life -- warranted for 10,000s of hours as opposed to incandescents at 750-1500 (or so).

      1.  Re well established, how long does that take.  LED Christmas lights are not new for this season ...

      The Energy Conversation: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

      by A Siegel on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 09:42:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  By the way ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      renaissance grrrl, ybruti, Fabian

      A question asked / answered:

      Q. How much energy do Christmas lights use?

      A. That depends on the kind you use. Standard mini-bulbs use about 25 watts per 50-bulb strand. If you leave four strands on all night long for a month, the electricity will cost you approximately $5. The larger old-style lights can use as much as 250 watts per 50 bulb strand so will cost 10 times as much as mini-bulbs. If you're looking to reduce costs associated with holiday lighting, your best option is the LED variety. LEDs, or Light Emitting Diodes, use as little as 2 to 4 watts per strand and can last for 20 years. They don't use a heated filament to produce light, so they also run cooler, reducing fire risk.

      Courtesy of Efficiency Vermont.

      The Energy Conversation: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

      by A Siegel on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 09:52:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  By the way ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fabian

      Your comment ...

      Saying that you'll make the money back over time, though, is probably nonsense - one thing I've learned by long, hard experience is that NO string of Christmas lights ever lasts more than 3-4 years.

      Have you ever used any that were not incandescent technology.  This comment simply states that all technologies are made equal -- which is simply not the case.  Go out and buy some LEDs and see whether they last more than 4 years ...

      LED lights, for homes, are rated at 50,000+ hours -- with testing. CFLs are rated for about 4-6000 hours (if I recall correctly) -- incandescents at about 750-1500 hours.  I began to replace all my incandescents several years ago with CFLs. Over these years, I have yet to have to replace a CFL ... hmmm, how many 'traditional' bulbs would I have had to replace?

      The Energy Conversation: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

      by A Siegel on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 05:06:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  LEDs are not socket mounted either. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel

        That's part of what makes them so durable.  Once an LED is wired into an instrument, you can seal the whole thing any way you want.  There are LED instruments that you can set into paving and can take foot traffic and light vehicular traffic.  Try THAT with non-LED light!

        We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

        by Fabian on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 06:54:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not talking about bulbs (0+ / 0-)

        Its rare that I've had a string of lights last long enough to have to worry about the bulbs.  You get them out one year, and they simply don't work.  These are the sort of lights where you can remove bulbs and they still work fine, so its not that - the string is simply dead.  Maybe LED lights somehow miraculously don't have this problem, but I'm not going to be betting the massively inflated prices necessary to find out.

        •  Seems like you have lots of Christmas lights ... (0+ / 0-)

          Why not buy one or two LED strings at "the massively inflated prices" to see just how well (or poorly) they work?

          And, the statements are that their manufacturing and wiring process makes the string more reliable. But, unlike CFLs, I can't speak from direct (experimental) experience.

          The Energy Conversation: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

          by A Siegel on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 01:34:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Did you check the fuses in the plug (0+ / 0-)

          at the end of the string?  I replaced those and my string lit up again

          "Maybe you know something I don't know." -- G Dub (-4.38,-3.03)

          by don the tin foil on Fri Jan 05, 2007 at 06:24:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  All my LEDs are holding up quite well (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel

      Since they don't have a glowing filament I think they are inherently more sturdy.  I may be wrong because I haven't had any for more than three years, but so far, so good!

      Universal Health Care - it's coming, but not soon enough!

      by DrFood on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 04:12:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  How do you feel about candles? (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lipris, retrograde, Fabian, ohcanada, tvb, esquimaux

    This photo is from our soltice vigil tonight in St Paul -- sponsored by Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace.

     title=

    Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity. Horace Mann (and btw, the bike in kayakbiker is a bicycle)

    by Kayakbiker on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 09:40:26 PM PST

    •  Great picture (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kayakbiker, A Siegel

      now that does make me feel warm and fuzzy.

      Trillions of Christmas lights because we are marketed to does not do it for me. It seems very self indulgent now that we realise how much strain our planet is under to produce the energy for said trillions of bulbs all over the world. Bah Humbug indeed!

      Oh that we had the gift to see ourselves as others see us. Robbie Burns

      by ohcanada on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 10:00:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I bought a string of blue LED Christmas Lights (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, A Siegel

    They have a cool color that works perfectly with blue--sorta moonlightish.

    I used them across a mirror in a snow-drift type  arrangment. Very nice.

  •  Can I replace my florescents with LEDs? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, A Siegel

    Almost all the lights in my house are CFLs. I haven's seen any LEDs for sale except in Christmas lights and flashlights.

  •  durability? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cookiebear, Fabian

    Any idea how durable the LEDs are?  The lifespan is great but if they are sensitive to getting knocked around (wind for instance) or to moisture, the lifespan is meaningless. Can someone comment on durability?

    When do I get to vote on your marriage?

    by tvb on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 11:19:52 PM PST

    •  Durability ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cookiebear, Fabian, tvb

      As per one of my posts, you can literally jump up and down on LEDs without (at least sometimes) breaking.  All in all, this suggests far less susceptibility to damage. Note that LED lights are regularly used for outdoor applications (street lights, pedestrian walkways, lights associated with solar systems, etc ...).

      The Energy Conversation: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

      by A Siegel on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 04:31:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Couple of random thoughts... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian

    I keep meaning to buy a variety of fluorescent bulbs to test, now that they make different types.  I've always hated fluorescent lighting, and as irresponsible as it is, the quality of the light itself is kind of important to me (I also love lamps & hate overhead lighting unless it's recessed).  They don't make three-way versions for lamps, do they?

    I looked at some LED lights this year, and may buy some for next year in the post-holiday sales.  Just to illustrate what a weirdo I am wrt lighting, I removed every single pink bulb from my multicolored tree lights and replaced them with clear... it looks great, but since I had to thread the filaments into the original strands' bases (in cheap strands, the bases aren't always the same from one set to the next) it was time-consuming & I had really sore thumbs.

    As a trivia note, I passed the Gores' house at dusk this weekend-- when going from their neighborhood to the next, there's a place where you need to make a sharp right & I missed it, having to turn around just past their place-- and they seem to only have candles in the windows for Christmas lighting.  Whether the bulbs are CFL, I wouldn't know.

    Democrats always act as though they're afraid they'll lose, so people look at them and see losers. -Paul Waldman

    by latts on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 01:20:13 AM PST

    •  RE Flourescents ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fabian

      I actually went through a 'testing' process ... having bought different bulbs.  Should do a diary about that.

      Spent about $35 to find bulbs that we were comfortable with -- in different applications.

      And, that $35 was paid back for easily within a year (if not earlier) in saved money.

      The Energy Conversation: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

      by A Siegel on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 04:33:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  PS -- (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fabian

      Most of the CFLs in my house have nothing to do -- in terms of lighting quality -- with the flourescent tubes in offices, stores, and my closets.  I have soft daylight variants ... globe ones in my bathroom with coatings on them ... etc ...

      The Energy Conversation: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

      by A Siegel on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 04:53:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Some CFLs 'sing' (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel

        The ballast hums.  I don't hear it on all of my CFLs, but the ones that do - drive me nuts.

        OTOH, I stuffed CFLs in my garage fixtures.  Partially to save money and partially because I can get the equivalent lumens of 200 watts incandescent out of a fixture that would be overloaded by using incadescents.  The bad news is that I can't get the decorative covers back on.  Like people are going to critique my garage fixtures!

        We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

        by Fabian on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 07:04:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I have a couple 3-way CFLs in my bedroom (0+ / 0-)

      they make 2 different kinds.  I don't remember the brand or the 3 wattages.  I think went to 100w and the other went up to 80 or so.  I got them at Lowe's.

      "Maybe you know something I don't know." -- G Dub (-4.38,-3.03)

      by don the tin foil on Fri Jan 05, 2007 at 06:37:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Doesn't look right (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian

    Somehow, Christmas lights don't look right without snow (I grew up and live in upstate NY). There's no snow in December anymore, so there doesn't seem much point in decorating. Just looks silly, to my eyes.

    This space intentionally left blank.

    by MattK D1 on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 01:46:52 AM PST

  •  great example of think globally & act locally (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, A Siegel

    how many SMALL adjustments can each of us make that can affect overall energy use?

    My outside lights on my house have been compact flourescents for the last 3-4 years.  Given an average of 10 hours/day for each of 4 light bulbs, they have probably paid for themselves already.

    And as traditional lightbulbs burn our we have been replacing them with compact Flourescents.   We have adjusted our thermostats, we both drive hybrids.  In my wife's case, although she has a bit of a lead foot, the difference is on her once a month roundtrips to either Philadelphia area (family) or NC (research) she is getting overall just under 50 mpg compared to the low 30's she was getting with her older Honda Accord.  Me?    Until the temperature drops below 40 degrees, I can often average over 60 MPG on my commute to and from work (if I time it so I don't hit traffic and am not rushed because of oversleeping) and since I got the car   several years ago my overall mpg is still over 50 mpg.

    Of course, I unfortunately have a 25 mile commute each way - I actually do not go the most direct route because to work it is 2 lights and coming home it is 5 ..   even though engine does turn off at stop lights, the additional traffic if I take the shortest route and the many lights and stop signs significantly drops mileage and increases time on the road.  So both from a personal standpoint and an environmental standpoint if I am going to do the commute, this makes the most sense.

    We have considered moving to Capitol Hill - my wife could walk to LC and my commute would be about 1/2 of what it is now.  But our vet is nearby, I am able to be politically active in Virginia in a way I could not in DC.  And I love my school, but would not want to live in Maryland.  So we compromise.

    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

    by teacherken on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 03:02:33 AM PST

    •  Re lightbulbs ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fabian

      The 'wait until they burn out' is not the best path. Doesn't make financial or environmental sense, actually.

      Perhaps put the incandescents into the lights that are used the least frequently?  Or reserve for applications (like dimmer) where a CFL just doesn't work well for you.

      Re outdoor lights, our house is "dark" except that lights are on motion sensors.

      I understand your concerns about the mileage.  Very few American shave zero reasons to be concerned abou their energy use patterns.  But, sounds like you are adapting and reducing energy use better than most (better than me ...).  Re mileage -- you have moved to hybrid awhile ago, a step many beyond what most others have taken.  

      The Energy Conversation: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

      by A Siegel on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 04:38:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  may not, but what I could get agreement on (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fabian, A Siegel

        in household.

        Also, we unfortunately have some things like sconce lights, fan lights, etc, for which there do not seem to be appropriate bulbs that I can find.  

        Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

        by teacherken on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 06:35:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If fixtures are frosted (0+ / 0-)

          try searching for LED adaptors.  They make LED flashlight adaptors and will probably branch out into other specialty bulbs - eventually.

          We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

          by Fabian on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 07:06:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  frosted not the issue (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            A Siegel

            size of sconces and space for bulbs on fans or chandeliers.  And in the last case, in the dining room, the issue is very much of decor (hence of shapeO

            Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

            by teacherken on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 04:27:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I noticed all fluorescent fixtures (0+ / 0-)

              have frosted finishes.  Part of that is diffusion.  Part of that is because the bulbs themselves can hardly be called ornamental - so they make the glass fixtures themselves the focus.  I bought a chandelier that uses ornamental globe bulbs with a standard base.  It's a bit of a trap and an expensive one too.  Those ornamental bulbs are expensive.  I could switch over to standard bulbs or check out the LED 'bulbs' - but I haven't yet.

              OTOH, I'd really love to completely redo this house's entire lighting set up.  It's dysfunctional.  It would be quite involved though with rewiring and more.

              We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

              by Fabian on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 03:06:04 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  RE savings ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cosette, Fabian

      I too had CFLs up for a long time before I realized just how good a financial payoff they were providing.

      At 10 hours/day, your CFLs probably paid off (you are NVA -- paying 6 cents/kwh???) in under six months.  Thus, in four years, your savings has likely been over seven times the purchase price of the CFLs. (And that is without counting the cost of the incandescents you would probably have had to bought to replace burnt out bulbs.

      My kitchen has 7 lights in it. Most days these are on for 5+ hours. Previously, they had 100 watt bulbs, or a total of 3500 watts per evening for about 28 cents. They all CFL, at a cost of 35 dollars. The CFL are 23 watts or 161 watts total. Evening is about .8 kwh or about 6.5 cents. Let us say this is 300 days / year.  My annual savings is about 64.5 dollars or an annual savings rate of almost 200 percent of my original investment.  

      Making Energy Cents - From Home to the Globe

      The Energy Conversation: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

      by A Siegel on Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 04:57:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Huh (0+ / 0-)

    I didn't know they made LED lights for display purposes.

    I don't have any incandescents, so when I buy display lights, I'll look for the LED version.

    Thanks for the heads up!

  •  Just the thread I was looking for... (0+ / 0-)

    I was just at the store yesterday looking to buy new lights for next year's display, and I had no idea the benefits of LEDs. I didn't buy any yet, but I'll definitely go this route now.

    I'd also like to ask for any suggestions about where I can look for a quick list of things I can do day-to-day to help out the environment (lighting and otherwise). I have two toddlers who make it very difficult for me to spend time researching these things online, but it's important for their sake (their future planet) that I do. Thanks.

    •  Lots of places ... (0+ / 0-)

      Re home -- for electricity -- one of the absolute best sites is Michael BlueJay's.

      For your home, consider getting The Home Energy Diet -- available on Amazon/et al. An easy read and extremely useful.

      And, check out the discussions on the Sustainable Energy Action link.

      The Energy Conversation: Learn - Connect - Share - Participate: For a new dialogue on Energy issues.

      by A Siegel on Tue Jan 02, 2007 at 03:22:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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