Lighting up your home for the holidays does not have to cost a fortune. By decorating exterior and interior spaces with solar, battery-operated or LED electric holiday lights, it's possible to help the environment and your holiday budget, says Amy Brunjes, an FPL spokeswoman.
When the big ball drops at Times Square this year on New Year's Eve, the globe will be lighted for the first time with LED (light emitting diode) technology.
Compared to standard holiday lights, LEDs shave energy costs by up to 98 percent. LED lights also produce far less heat, making them cooler and safer for home use.
LED lights, sold at FPL.com and retail stores, cost more than standard holiday lights. But energy savings pay for the cost after three holiday seasons, according to industry data. Mini LED lights cost about 30 cents to operate over 500 hours vs. $1.30 for standard lights. Larger holiday LED lights cost 14 cents to operate over 500 hours, versus $8 to $11 for standard lights of the same size.
LEDs reportedly last for 20 years. One oddity: LED mini-lights are brighter than standard mini lights but larger LED lights are dimmer than their standard counterparts.
Both Consumer Reports and the Alliance to Save Energy endorse LEDs.
The Alliance, a Washington, D.C.-based energy coalition, offers these energy-savings tips for the holidays:
• Use timers with holiday lights. Limit light displays to six hours every evening. ''Leaving lights on 24 hours a day will quadruple your energy costs,'' the Alliance said.
• Disconnect holiday lights before bedtime and whenever you leave home.
This is from my latest column in the home & design section of the Miami Herald.
The Frugal Duchess Booktique
The Frugal Duchess of Beauty Store
Book Shop of Fear
The Poetry & Drama Queen
Frugal Jazz & Blues
Frugal Comic Book Connection