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As Christmas approaches, it is safe to say almost everyone appreciates the colorful lights on trees, buildings, and houses. The decorations and different types of lights (blinking, icicles, etc.) are a staple in setting the Christmas mood. The holiday spirit makes it easy to want to keep all your lights on 24/7, but many people fail to realize the environmental impact of this action.

According to the Department of Energy, holiday lighting consumes more than 6 terawatt-hours per year, which is the equivalent of the total electricity consumption of 500,000 homes in one month alone. The bulbs in the lights used to decorate waste energy, and contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases. According to the Energy Saving Trust, 15,500 hot air balloons could be filled with the amount of carbon dioxide produced by holiday lighting.

Other risks to using Christmas lights include an increase in the amount of fires, and increased danger to your health. There are approximately three times more household fires during the holiday season, often caused by hot light bulbs, and dried out Christmas trees. And to top it off, Christmas lights often have high levels of lead, which can be detrimental to children’s health.

What can we do to remedy the situation?
LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, are lights that only use 10% of the energy of incandescent lights. They last ten times longer, and are a great alternative! Another option would be to simply reduce the amount of time you use your Christmas lights. Let’s face it- not everyone will be willing to completely sacrifice the holiday spirit and joy that holiday lights provide in an effort to save energy and help the environment, so lessening the amount of time the lights are on is a perfect compromise – help the environment (many lights even have timers so that it will self shut off at a certain time) and keep your holiday spirit.

If you are shopping for LED Christmas Lights you can find them at amazon.com or Christmas Tree Lights Guide

related: more eco-friendly tips from AlternativeConsumer.com

(photo credit: ChristmasLightsEtc.com)