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Light Up Your Holidays with Eco-Friendly LEDs

Dec 01, 2010 ● By Terry Black

Strings of holiday lights add a festive twinkle to the holidays, but traditional incandescent bulbs often have a short life and burn out quickly. They also require a lot of energy to stay lit, and during the holidays, that can add up to a not-so-merry electric bill.

LED holiday lights use light-emitting diodes rather than the traditional miniature incandescent bulbs. LEDs are a lot like incandescents, but they stay cooler, use less energy, and do not have a filament inside that can burn out and take the entire string of bulbs with it.

These days, LEDs have gone mainstream. Strings are available in many shapes and sizes and include solar-powered exterior lights and brilliantly colored strands for indoor trees. LEDs can even blink and twinkle just like traditional incandescents. The lights use 80 percent less electricity than standard mini lights and last up to 10 times longer.

LEDs have thick, plastic bulbs—not flimsy glass that can crack or break. And, the relative thickness of the LED wires makes them less likely to get tangled into a spaghetti-like bundle of bulbs.

LED lights are more expensive than incandescents, but their bulb life and energy savings will pay off over time. Check local big-box stores for trade-in incentives that let you swap an incandescent string for a discount on LEDs—it’s a great way to enjoy a green holiday season and help the planet, too.

Terry Black is the owner of Living Green Now, located at 425 Heuhl, Ste. 19a, in Northbrook. The company specializes in Earth-friendly, energy-smart and healthy alternatives to conventional products. Call 847-282-0031 or visit