Holiday Light Strings

Palo Alto, California is giving its residents a holiday gift. They are offering each resident the chance to trade in their incandescent lights for new LED holiday lights for their decorations.  LED lights consume 10-50 times less energy than old holiday lights.  LED lights are also cool to the touch, lowering fire hazards.

KCBS’ Betsy Gebhart reports

The program will run through mid-January.  Let’s hope more cities adopt this environmentally-admirable attitude in the future.


Illuminated clothes with LEDs

At, we’re not offering LED clothes…yet!  But maybe that will be a future development. What do you think!?!

Each one of Lumigram’s Lumitop fiber optic tops is powered by a compact battery pack connected to a bright LED light source.

Thanks to for these photos

Lake Tahoe Truckee Donner Public Utility District Gives Away 10-Mile String Of Lights

If you strung them end-to-end, the 1,450 strands of LED holiday lights given away by the Truckee Donner Public Utility District last month would have stretched nearly 10 miles.

The lights were given away free of charge, and 740 customers took the TDPUD up on the offer.

Not only did more than 5 percent of the district’s customer base take part in this program during a short five-week period, but they all came into the district’s office to exchange their lights and had the chance to learn about other cost-effective energy-efficiency opportunities.

“The LED Holiday Light Exchange Program was a huge success. We were very excited by the tremendous response to the LED light giveaway,” TDPUD general manager Michael Holley said. “The district really wants to thank and congratulate our customers and the Truckee community for taking advantage of this energy-saving program. Part of the TDPUD’s mandate is to reduce energy consumption, and these LEDs go a long way toward reaching that goal.”

LEDs are considered next generation technology for lighting. The new ultra energy-efficient LED lights save up to 98 percent on energy costs versus the old-style incandescent lights.

Get your LED lights at or  


Tips for Recycling Holiday Lights

As you dig through that box of decorations that you so hastily put away the year before, you may come across some tangled strings of lights, or discover that new ones are needed. Before tossing that tangle or heading for the store, consider the next step for those lights could be either reuse or recycle.

Keep in Mind

  • Christmas trees are involved in about 300 fires each year. These fires result in 14 deaths.
  • When purchasing strings of lights, double-check that the wire has a holographic “UL Listed” tag (this ensure that the product has been tested and evaluated for certification by UL’s laboratories).
  • Recycle any strings with broken sockets, frayed or exposed wires or those that have loose connections.
  • When plugging in multiple strings to increase length, do not exceed more then three consecutive strings of lights.
  • Save energy and be safe by turning off holiday lights when you leave home or go to bed. Utilize a timer to make this processes easier.

Shine the Light: Recycle

Though most curbside recycling programs do not take stringed lights, some communities may be having events for collection during the holiday season. If not, the company will accept your old lights via mail. What do they do once they get them?

Once received, according to, “the lights will be processed and any material that cannot be recycled (i.e. loose bulbs) is discarded.” Once enough people send in their old lights, they take the large amount to a recycling facility located in Jackson, Miss. “The recycling company puts the lights through a commercial shredder, which chops the lights up into little pieces. The pieces are then further processed and sorted into the various components that make up the lights (pvc, glass, copper.) The materials are separated and transported to a region center for further processing.”

In addition to recycling your old lights, also emails you a coupon for 15 percent off any purchases made on their site.

Keep on Sparkling

If you can’t use your old ones based on style change, keep in mind the many reuse ideas that can give your holiday lights a second life:

  • Sell them online or trade them for other goods
  • Donate them to a charity, school or a thrift store
  • Use them as night lights
  • Use them to decorate a room or patio
  • If they run off batteries, use them as lighting on your next camping trip or outdoor adventure

Sale Shopping for 2009 Holiday Lights? Consider Energy-Efficient LEDs

For anyone shopping the post-holiday sales in order to stock up on holiday lights for 2009, a word to the wise: make sure the lights you purchase are of the light-emitting diode (LED) variety, rather than incandescent bulbs. LEDs will cost more up front, but you'll save a ton in the long

"A 60-light LED string will put out as much light as a 100-light incandescent string, and will result in an 88 percent savings on your electric bill," said Con Edison Lighting Specialist Peter Jacobson. "That's almost 9/10 of what you're spending on energy for holiday lights. That'll keep more green in your wallet, and you'll be happier every holiday season for the rest of your life because of it."

Considering that the holiday lighting season is 45 days long, and that lights are typically on for seven hours a night, the seasonal savings will amount to 11-plus kilowatt hours for each string of lights, or the difference between $3.05 per incandescent string to 37 cents for an LED string. That amounts to $2.25 savings for each LED string. (A string of incandescents will use 13.858 kilowatt hours (kWh) over a lighting season, while LEDs will use only 1.69 kWh.)

"Multiply that by the number of strings that you're displaying," noted Jacobson, "and it adds up."

While an incandescent string of lights uses 41 watts, an LED string uses only five watts, according to Jacobson.

"The 60 LED lights will be just as bright as the 100 incandescents, and you'll never have to replace the LED lights again," Jacobson added. "The LEDs last 20,000 hours, and the typical lighting season is 315 hours. So unless you expect to be in charge of putting up the lights 60 years from now, you won't need to replace the LEDs. You're done. You're saving the environment and cutting energy costs at the same time."

Incandescent lights run $3 to $5 for a string, while LED lights are typically about $12 for a branded product and $6 for a non-branded product. The payback period, Jacobson estimates, is four and a half years.

You can find your LED holiday light strings at