LED Holiday Lights: Not the Law, but the Smart Thing to Do

November 17, 2011

For the first time, a new poll shows that a majority of Americans are aware that the traditional incandescent light bulb (that you would screw into a light socket) is being phased out, in favor of more energy efficient choices. But people are still confused about what’s covered, and some still think the federal government has “banned” the incandescent light bulb. (For the record, it hasn’t. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 passed under President George W. Bush simply sets higher efficiency standards that the older bulbs can’t meet.)

For those who’ve been wondering about how this affects holiday lighting, it really doesn’t. The law exempts certain “specialty” lighting, which includes everything from icicle lights to Christmas tree strings. So, there won’t necessarily be any change in the selection of holiday lights that you can find on your local department store shelf, as a result of the federal legislation that will be phased-in starting in January.

But as we have seen, a quieter revolution is already taking place in the holiday lighting industry. A growing number of homeowners, municipalities and businesses, have already switched to LED lights to illuminate their holidays. It hasn’t been sparked by any government regulation, but by the simple calculus that shows LED lights (which last longer and are typically ten times more efficient than classic light bulbs) make sense for the planet and for your pocketbook.

Here are some other interesting tidbits from the most recent “Sylvania Socket Survey”:

  • The majority of Americans are excited about the transition away from outdated and inefficient incandescent bulbs.
  • Sixty-two percent of people switched out a light bulb in the last year to improve energy efficiency.
  • The number of people who reported using LED lights in their home has increased by 40 percent over the last four years.

And here are the percentages of people who described the following factors as “very important” when deciding which light bulbs to buy. LEDs are far better choices, at least when you take the top two drivers of purchasing into account:

  • 61% – total amount of time the light bulb will last
  • 57% – amount of energy the light bulb uses
  • 53% – the brightness of the bulb
  • 53% – if the bulb was made in America
  • 45% – price