Whether you’re ready or not, Christmas is just around the corner. The department stores have been playing the jingles since mid-October, and the weather is cooling quicker than Santa can finish all those cookies you plan on leaving near the fireplace.
When you’re getting ready to put up those Christmas decorations this year (unless they’re still up from last year), opt to make a wise investment: solar powered Christmas lights.
Every year you untangle a few extension cords, wrap them all around the house, and hope that it somehow doesn’t result in a fire. With solar Christmas lights, you can leave those extension cords in the corner of the attic since there are no plugs. All it takes is a rechargeable battery (and one is usually included with the purchase), and the solar lights are good to go for the entire winter.
Holiday lights result in tons of wasted energy each year — a report by the Department of Energy says that holiday lighting equates to more than six terawatt-hours per year. That’s enough energy to power 500,000 homes for an entire month. That’s a city’s worth of electricity, all for tiny Christmas lights! Producing all this energy means more carbon dioxide emissions, which means more damage to the environment.
LED Christmas lights are a great alternative to traditional lights, but going completely free of plugs and harnessing the energy of the sun is by far the greenest way to go.
At Christmas time, you’re three times as likely to experience a household fire than at any other time of the year. The increased risk is due to all the electricity you’re using on things like Christmas lights and light up reindeer in your front yard. Cutting out the traditional Christmas lights for a green alternative such as solar Christmas lights reduces that risk of fire and makes your home safer for the holidays.
Why is it that we spend the entire year trying to reduce our energy use, only to not care at all once December rolls around? Opting for solar-powered Christmas lights makes it a little easier to accept an increase in energy usage around the holidays.
Just remember to balance out the rest of your holiday lighting and to use energy efficient LEDs if you have other decorations that aren’t powered by the sun.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.