The Christmas lights that won’t burn a hole in your budget

The Christmas adverts are here, the temperature has dropped, city centre light switch-ons are around the corner – it’s so close we can almost taste it.  Christmas lights, energy efficient, cheap, power saving, LEDs, Christmas

But with the hundreds and thousands of yuletide lights arriving, also comes the burning question: are you actually aware of how much energy your Christmas is eating up?

At the time of year when excess is expected, even the most hard-core eco-friendly fanatics might let a few extra lights on the electricity bill slide.  ‘Tis the season after all, and bah humbug to anyone who says otherwise.

So to avoid putting a dampener on the festive joy, we’re focussing on just one, tiny electricity change that really will make a difference to your eco-footprint and energy bill – updating your fairy lights.  As small and innocent as they seem, if you’re still using traditional filament bulbs in your string lights, you’re probably burning through way more energy than you thought.

So how much can being energy efficient save you?  Take the giant Christmas tree that sits in every town and city centre.  A 20ft tree can realistically have anywhere between 2,000 to 3,000 lights (depending on just how blinding you want your Christmas cheer to be – we used this official sparkle guide for safety).

If this theoretical but festive tree uses 2,000 traditional fairy lights – incandescent bulbs, with a filament – it would use around 1.4 kilowatts of power every hour (based on these figures).  For these lights to be kept on for ten hours a day for four weeks, it would cost £53.70 to run.

If the same tree were to switch to 2,000 LEDs (which are technically circuits rather than bulbs) and kept on for the same amount of time, only 0.144 kilowatts would be used every hour.  The cost of running would drop down to £5.52.

Traditional Christmas fairy-lights

2,000 bulbs on 10 hours a day

= 14 KW energy used in one day

= 392 KW energy used in four weeks

Total cost: £53.70


LED Christmas lights

2,000 bulbs on 10 hours a day

= 1.44 KW energy used in one day

= 40.32 KW energy used in four weeks

Total cost: £5.52 LED christmas lights, energy saving christmas lights, energy efficient

It really is a no brainer – if every household, business and town centre street display switched to LED decorations, the amount of energy burned through in the Christmas period would be roughly a tenth of what they would have used. That’s not to mention how much money would be saved on bills, or how much safer LEDs are considered due to the fact that they have long life spans and give off less heat.

And, in the name of holiday spirit, this means that you can reap in the savings to be distributed back into the Christmasphere. We particularly love this ‘treegonometry’ from the University of Sheffield who’ve worked out  the mathematical formula for a perfectly decorated Christmas tree.

However you choose to decorate your tree this year, you can be safe in the knowledge that your bright lights won’t turn you into a Grinch when the January bills arrive.