Save energy, money with new LED holiday lights


LED lights

Replacing those old traditional incandescent decorative lights with high-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs is one of the best ways to conserve energy and save money during the holidays.

When shopping for LED holiday lights, look for the ENERGY STAR label to ensure that the product meets strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. ENERGY STAR-qualified appliances, lighting and electronics use less energy than their older, energy-hog counterparts. Learn more about decorative LEDs at


LEDs offer many advantages

ENERGY STAR-qualified LED decorative lights are exceptionally energy efficient, many using up to 90 percent less energy than conventional incandescent bulbs to produce the same amount of light. Plus, they can last up to 10 times longer than traditional incandescent lights. For example, the electricity consumed by just one seven-watt incandescent bulb could power 140 LEDs, or enough to power two 24-foot strings.

The cost of buying and operating LED lights for 10 holiday seasons would be about $18 compared with $122 for incandescent bulbs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition to consuming less electricity and costing less, LED holiday lights are:

  • LEDs are much cooler than incandescent bulbs, reducing the risk of combustion or burnt fingers.
  • 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 an electrical outlet.

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 to learn of rebates from your utility).


Recycle those old lights

Be sure to recycle your old holiday lights. The Recycling Association of Minnesota and the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) are once again working together to provide Recycle Your Holidays, a program with hundreds of drop-off sites across the state to recycle old, tangled, and broken holiday lights. The program runs through the end of January.

Learn more about Recycle Your Holidays and recycling sites near you.


Minnesota Energy Tips is provided twice a month by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. Contact the division’s Energy Information Center at or 800-657-3710 with energy questions.