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Can you save money during the Holidays? Commerce releases second energy- and money-saving podcast

Commissioner Rothman talks about the benefits of switching to LED holiday lights

December 17, 2013


SAINT PAUL, MN – Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman released today the most recent in his series of podcasts focused on financial literacy and consumer education tips for making smart money decisions and avoiding financial pitfalls.  The podcasts are aimed at providing useful information that will lead to a more secure financial life today and in the future.

“Energy efficiency can have a big impact on household budgets,” said Commissioner Rothman. “Replacing traditional incandescent decorative lights with high-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs is one great way to conserve energy during the holidays.”

When shopping for holiday lights, especially during the after-the-holidays clearance sales, look for the ENERGY STAR® label to ensure that the product meets energy-efficiency requirements. ENERGY STAR is a program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that helps save money and protects the environment through energy-efficient products and practices. It makes sure that appliances, lighting and electronics are using less energy than their older, energy-hog counterparts.

LEDs offer many advantages

ENERGY STAR-qualified LED decorative lights are exceptionally energy efficient, many using up to 90 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of light. For example, the electricity consumed by just one 7-watt incandescent bulb could power 140 LEDs—or enough to power two 24-foot strings.

DOE estimates the cost of buying and operating LED lights for 10 holiday seasons would be $17.99 compared with $122.19 for incandescent bulbs. In addition to consuming less electricity and costing less, LED holiday lights are:

  • Safer. LEDs are much cooler than incandescent bulbs, reducing the risk of combustion or burnt fingers.
  • Sturdier. LEDs are made with epoxy lenses, not glass, and are much more resistant to breakage.
  • Longer lasting. The same LED string could be in use for 40 holiday seasons.
  • Easier to install. Up to 25 strings of LEDs can be connected end-to-end without overloading a wall socket.

Timers and dimmers for those holiday lights will help conserve even more energy. Watch for rebates that will help defray the cost of LEDs and other energy-efficient lighting products; many electric utilities offer rebates for LEDs (visit www.dsireusa.org). And be sure to recycle your old holiday lights. Visit the Clean Energy Resource Teams website to find out where you can recycle old lights in Minnesota.