Traditional Christmas lights were exempted from the federal law that will phase out incandescent bulbs, and many consumers preferred them over more expensive LEDs.
But now, as their prices have dropped LEDs can better compete with incandescents. Energy savings are now large enough that the additional cost of an LED can be recovered in one year, according to the Kansas City Star.
Wal-Mart has recognized this trend and has dedicated half of its shelf space to LEDs. A string of 50 mini LED lights sells for $5, down from $6.30 last year, reports the newspaper. Costco is not selling any incandescent Christmas lights.
General Electric, sellers of holiday lights since 1903 anticipates that two out of every five strings of lights sold this year will be LEDs.
LEDs can save about 80 percent or more of the energy used by incandescent bulbs.
While in use for only a few hours a day for a few weeks, Christmas lights use a considerable amount of energy. A Department of Energy study estimated they use enough electricity to provide power to 200,000 homes for a year.
Costco is selling several sizes of Christmas LEDs, including a larger set for indoor or outdoor use costs $15.50. If used for six hours per day over two months, they could save $11 in the first season, depending on local electricity prices. And LEDs are more durable and last roughly 10 times longer than incandescents.
Photo credit: ShedBOy’s Flickr photostream