A Guide to Using Energy Efficient Decorative Lights

A Guide to Using Energy Efficient Decorative Lights

Nothing says holiday cheer quite like twinkling decorative lights inside and outside of your home. Many people use decorative lights on Christmas trees, interior spaces, and outdoor holiday displays during this time of year. 

If you typically partake in this festive tradition, it’s important to make sure you are using energy efficient decorative lights. Why should you switch to energy efficient lights? Which decorative lights are considered energy efficient? Here’s what you need to know to prepare for the holidays:

What Are the Benefits of Using Energy Efficient Decorative Lights?

Energy efficient decorative lights are designed with LED bulbs, whereas traditional decorative lights are designed with incandescent bulbs. According to the Department of Energy, LED bulbs last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. By switching to LED bulbs, you won’t have to worry about one of your decorative lights going out before the holidays are over. 

LED bulbs also consume at least 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs. Because they use less energy, LED bulbs are more eco-friendly than traditional decorative lights. 

Furthermore, they can save you money. The less energy you consume at home, the lower your electric bill will fall. By switching to energy efficient decorative lights this year, you could drastically reduce your holiday utility bill.

What Are the Different Types of Energy Efficient Decorative Lights?

There are a number of different types of decorative lights that are designed with energy efficient LED bulbs as opposed to incandescent bulbs. Some of the most popular types include:

  • String Lights
  • Rope Lights
  • Spotlights
  • Portable Lights
Energy Efficient Decorative Lights

String Lights

String lights are small light bulbs on a string or wire that are traditionally used on Christmas trees and home exteriors. 

If you plan on using string lights this year, make sure you buy a set with energy efficient LED bulbs as opposed to incandescent bulbs. This simple switch could lead to significant savings. 

According to the Department of Energy, the cost of lighting a Christmas tree with incandescent string lights for 12 hours per day for 40 days is around $3.00. However, lighting the same tree with LED string lights for the same length of time would only cost about $0.82

Energy Efficient Decorative Lights

Rope Lights

A rope light is a PVC tube with small lights inside. The PVC tube provides an extra layer of protection for the fragile light bulbs, which is why many people use rope lights outside. 

Retailers typically sell both traditional rope lights with incandescent bulbs and energy efficient rope lights with LED bulbs. The former consumes about three watts of electricity per foot of lighting, whereas energy efficient rope lights only consume about one watt of electricity per foot.


Spotlights are often used to draw more attention to a specific holiday decoration. For example, a spotlight could be used to highlight a giant inflatable Santa Claus in your front yard to ensure it is visible at all hours. 

There are also projector spotlights, which are lights that project digital images such as falling snow, twinkling stars, or even the silhouette of Santa’s sled pulled by reindeer. Some people use projector spotlights to project these digital images onto the outside of their home, an interior wall, or even the night sky.

If you plan on using a spotlight or projector spotlight this year, choose one with an LED bulb to save energy and money.

Portable Lights

There are also portable lights, which are decorative lights that can be moved from room-to-room depending on your needs. Portable lights often look like lanterns, but they come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. Most portable lights are designed for both interior and exterior use.

Look for portable lights with LED bulbs to improve the energy efficiency of your holiday decorations. You can use these portable lights to create the perfect mood lighting for your intimate holiday gathering. Or choose a striking portable light that can serve as the centerpiece for your Christmas dinner

Energy Efficient Decorative Lights

How to Maximize the Energy Efficiency of Your Decorative Lighting

Now you should have a better understanding of which energy efficient lights to purchase this holiday season. To maximize the energy efficiency of your decorative lights, follow these simple tips:

  • Use timed lights. A smart light timer can help you maximize your lighting’s energy efficiency. Set the timer so your holiday lights only turn on at night when they are visible. 
  • Invest in smart power strips. A traditional power strip will still send power to your lights even when they’re turned off. This wastes energy and drives up your electric bill. To avoid this problem, choose a smart power strip that will automatically cut off power to your lights when they’re not in use.
  • Choose reflective materials. Add shiny tinsel, ribbons, and other reflective materials around your holiday lighting displays. These reflective materials will make your lights look even brighter without consuming more energy.

Use the information in this guide to add cheer–and energy efficiency–to your decorative holiday lighting.