Holiday and Christmas Lighting

LED Holiday Lights Versus Traditional Holiday Lights

Current Total after 759 Hours

Christmas Tree with lights
Lights KW Usage Price Per KW Total Engergy Cost
240 LED Bulbs 7.36 $0.166 $1.22
250 Mini Incandescent Lights 71.10 $0.166 $11.80

New Jersey Holiday Begins Earlier Every Year

Here in New Jersey the holiday season begins earlier every year. I personally observed two merchants, in Little Silver and Middletown, stringing up Christmas lights in October. "Christmas in October?", I said to the merchant. "It Can't come soon enough", he replied. With such a long holiday season and most people tightening their budgets, we've decided to try an energy saving experiment and see just how much of a savings LED holiday lighting provides compared to the typical incandescent twinkle lights.


Friends of ours in Fair Haven are going to decorate for the holidays with strings of LED lighting. We will meter how much electricity is being consumed by the lights with a device called a Kill-a-Watt. The Kill-a-Watt plugs into your outlet then your Christmas lights plug into the Kill-a-Watt. Kill a Watt electricity usage meterWe will also have a similar display of traditional holiday lighting set up in our Middletown home.

Finally, we will post weekly data on the energy consumption of the different lights, using Monmouth County electrical rates, and compare these cost to the Electricity cost for holiday lighting that is posted by the Department of Energy (DOE). Between the dollar signs below are some sample electricity costs from the DOE site based on 10.5 cents per kilowatt hour. For New Jersey residential customers the residential retail cost of electricity from DOE site is 16.6 cent per kilowatt hour, approximately 58% higher than the DOE average. When I look at my October statement from JCPL I'm calculating more like 16.97 cents per kilowatt hour. Next to the figures below, I recalculated the Electricity Costs of the different lights using the NJ rate of 16.6 cents per kilowatt hour.

Use LED Holiday Lights

LED—or light-emitting diode—holiday lights are much more efficient than traditional incandescent lights. While the initial purchase price of LED light strings is higher, consider the cost of running each type of light string for 12 hours per day for 40 days:

Type of Light

Electricity Cost *

Standard C-7

(125 bulbs, 4 watts each)

$25.13 ...................... 58% increase for NJ....... >> $39.71

Mini Incandescent Lights

(300 bulbs, 0.4 watts each)

$6.03 ...............................58% increase for NJ.........>> $9.53

LED Holiday Lights

(280 bulbs, 0.04 watts each)

$0.56...................................58% increase for NJ........>> $0.89

10.5 cents per KWH --> times 58% increase for NJ = 16.6 cent per KWH

*Assumes an electricity price of 10.5 cents per kilowatt hour (Annual Energy Outlook 2008 Residential Average).

LED light strings also last longer and are safer to use than traditional incandescent light strings. Learn more about the

advantages of LED holiday lights on, and visit the ENERGY STAR® site to find manufacturers and brands.

Stay tuned for our weekly updates, from Middletown and Fair haven NJ, on the Energy consumption and Cost of LED holiday lights versus traditional holiday lights.

Holiday Lighting Final Summary

The Holiday Season has come to end and most people have begun to pack up their decorations and get on with the New Year. A final review of our LED lighting data confirms that the LED Christmas lights are more efficient than the standard Christmas lights by approx. a factor of ten. Lets see how the savings add up when you consider the upfront cost of the LED Lights that we purchased:

Year one

4 strings LED Lights x $12 per package + energy consumption for one season $1.22 = $49.22

5 strings Traditional lights x $4 per package + energy consumption for one season $11.80 = $31.80

Year two

LED lights = year one + $1.22 = $50.44

Traditional lights = year one + $11.80 = $43.60

Year three

LED lights = year two + $1.22 = $51.66

Traditional lights = year two + $11.80 = $54.40

Final Results

It looks like our LED lights start saving us money in year three. Obviously, the longer you leave your lights on during the holidays the more of a savings you will get from the LED lights. We tracked our lights for 759 hours.

Also, The cost of the LED lights significantly affects the amount of time before you start seeing an ROI from your purchase. In fact, during the holiday I found LED lights priced as low as $6 per string. If we were to purchase the $6 dollar lights we would of seen a cost savings in year one.

We think LED lighting is worth the investment. The prices for LED lighting will continue to fall as the technology matures.

Grimaldi Electric would like to wish you all a Healthy, Happy and Prosperous New Year !