Colored LEDs have been decorating America's trees, wreaths and homes for nearly a decade, but are finally coming close to widespread adoption. Color, brightness and range of styles have steadily improved over the years, as has awareness and concern over rising energy prices and a soft economy. This season, industry leader Philips Lighting says LED strands are making up 10.5% of holiday light sales, up from 3.5% just two years ago, reports USA Today.
That's great news for greens who want to bring a little light and cheer into the darkest time of the year, but don't want to suffer higher utility bills, or feel guilty about resulting in carbon emissions. That's because LEDs use a fraction of the energy of conventional light bulbs (up to about 15% currently), and they last for many years. Based on semiconductors, they're cool to the touch and extremely durable, meaning they are great for many applications (especially where there is a fire hazard).
Discount strands of LED holiday lights are now available at drugstores and hardware stores for under $10, and fancier designs, from icicles to snowflakes, typically go for between $20 and $30. Most big box retailers now carry them, including Home Depot, Lowe's, Target and Big Lots. Considering that they literally cost just pennies to run for a season, the economic pendulum is starting to swing in their favor.
According to GE, a traditional 26-light string of incandescents burns at 125 watts and lasts for about 1,000 hours. The same size string in LEDs lasts 20,000 hours and burns at 2.3 watts.
On a grand scale, LEDs are brightening hearts at New Yorks famous Rockefeller center and at Cincinnatis Fountain Square.
Learn more about LED holiday lights, check out our gallery of great new styles and find out how you can exchange your old incandescent strands here.
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