Energy Tip #22: Deck the halls with solar-powered LED Christmas lights

christmaslights.jpgLast week I was justly called out for passing along some dubious holiday energy statistics, so this week I’m going to play it safe with some figures I’m sure are correct: did you know that every year, Americans buy six hundred trillion trillion miles of Christmas lights, enough to stretch to the outer limits of the known universe and back eighteen times?

All those lights suck a lot of power — in fact, total power consumption from Christmas lights is five times the entire energy output of the sun since the beginning of time. Fortunately, NASA scientists are on the case, bringing us innovations such as the solar-powered LED Christmas light.

Not only will these babies cut down your carbon emissions and energy bills, they’ll also save you the trouble of finding an outdoor outlet. Best of all, you don’t even have to bother switching them on. They activate automatically at dusk.




For those TerraBlog readers who celebrate the Festival of Lights, recall that Hanukkah is the original energy efficiency holiday — eight days of illumination from a single day’s worth of oil. And now you can celebrate that miracle with this incredibly tacky LED Super Mensch novelty menorah, which, as an added bonus, plays Rock of Ages. Hu chag tov!

Obligatory shilling: this holiday season: give the gift of carbon neutrality to everyone you know.

Author Bio

adam

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  1. Rod Williams - December 6, 2006

    Do the big boys care. Perhaps if we educated our children to this enermous waste of energy they may end this madness. see http://www.ceres.org.au for good ideas for school programs via their Sustainable Schools project 200 schools reducing their energy and waste output, 25 5 star rated the only one in the country. Our federal government is taking up the project nationwide next year

  2. Anonymous - December 6, 2006

    “six hundred trillion trillion miles” is htat even possible?

  3. Anonymous - December 6, 2006

    “six hundred trillion trillion miles” is that even possible?

  4. Jeffrey Riney - December 6, 2006

    That sure is a lot to pay for a festively lit up house. This year I was trying to make my home visible from space but after reading your article I believe I will cut it back a few thousand bulbs. My home is surrounded by large trees and it would be hard for me to use solar power. I only get about five to seven hours of sun. Is this enough to power my lights and other electric consumers in my home?I just want to help out and not add to the problem.

  5. SolarKismet - December 6, 2006

    “total power consumption from Christmas lights is five times the entire energy output of the sun since the beginning of time.”
    Is there a source for that?

  6. Ameet - December 6, 2006

    Folks! Did you read the first paragraph carefully?

    “…so this week I’m going to play it safe with some figures I’m sure are correct: did you know that every year, Americans buy six hundred trillion trillion miles of Christmas lights, enough to stretch to the outer limits of the known universe and back eighteen times?”

    Can’t you see teasing when it’s implied??? He’s exaggerating.

    Adam, can you put some blinking colored smiley faces around these comments next time so people don’t take you so literally? :-)

  7. Ros Nelson - December 6, 2006

    Emails and blogs are notorious for not transmitting grins, grimaces, smirks, or twinkling eyes. Need to keep statistics really accurate, sans humor, as people are looking for INFORMATION. So important. Sending SMILE.

  8. Tom McKinnon - December 6, 2006

    Great post Adam! This time I’m not even going to remind you that the GEIA (galactic energy information agency) 2049 Annual Energy Outlook report has computed that holiday lights only use 4.8 times the energy output of the sun.
    Tom

  9. Adam Stein - December 6, 2006

    Hi folks,
    As some have noted, the “statistics” in this post are meant to be a joke.
    As my girlfriend has frequently noted, at least I amuse myself.
    I know that sarcasm is easier to identify in writing when surrounding by winky faces, but I’m just constitutionally incapable of labeling my jokes with a sign that says “JOKE.” I prefer just not being all that funny.
    Thanks for your indulgence on this one. I wrote it at midnight, and I’m severely jet-lagged…

  10. Doris Lein - December 6, 2006

    So…what about all the old lights filling up our landfills? What do we do with those?

  11. Sherryk - December 6, 2006

    I stopped using lights at Xmas over 25 years ago – Makes decorating for Xmas waaaaaaay more pleasant (no tangled lights, burned out bulbs, etc) and everything looks just as nice. Still – wish they had come up with the idea of Solar Powered Xmas lights then – maybe, I’d still be using them – well…maybe not!

  12. Sherryk - December 6, 2006

    PS – I love the sarcasm and exaggeration – we can go crazy being serious ALL the time. Thanks for all you do.

  13. Anonymous - December 6, 2006

    Where do you get solar powered Christmas lights?

  14. Jerry S - December 8, 2006

    Why not have a third catagory on your quiz so those who are already on board on the issue can vote. ie. Don’t do lights.

  15. Aaron A. - December 13, 2006

    I like the concept, but it would be easier to harness solar power if Christmas weren’t four days away from the winter solstice. And I suspect the home pictured above would need several acres of solar panels.

  16. Another James - November 24, 2007

    One pet peeve is when people put a link to google results without any usable suggestions to what products to use. There are a lot of rip off solar products out there using old technology and cells they want to dump to unknowing consumers. Posting this link above is not a service and honestly, a slap in the face. I would never do that to a friend or family asking me for some advice.
    I found this article in hope that some suggestions to best – and brightest – LED solar lights to use but I get where I started: a google link.
    Back to research, if I find or buy something I like I will review it and post it here and hopefully answer the question 13 above. Who trusts these mom and pop sites without any endorsement anyway?
    This google link is a cop-out. Could you follow up with any products you or Terapass writers have used? For an article that ws posted in 2006 this gets surfaced to the top and could be more helpful.
    Thanks!
    AJ

  17. nathan - March 20, 2008

    I found a great site, that is all christmas related carrying tons of LED lights. http://www.christmascentral.com while their products can be found at http://shop.christmascentral.com I think im going to redo my deck in LED rope lights and they have every color.

  18. suzie - November 17, 2008

    What to do with old Christmas lights that are functioning?