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Trade In Old, Inefficient Holiday Lighting for Money Saving LEDs

Business

Home Depot is encouraging people to do away the old Christmas lights of years past in exchange for energy efficient ones.

The national retailer will recycle old, broken or used incandescent lights across the country if shoppers bring them in before the end of the business day on Nov. 17. Customers can then receive discounts of $3 (Home Accents), $4 (Martha Stewart Living or GE) or $5 (EcoSmart or LightShow) on a set of LED lights, depending on the brand they select.

LED holiday lights. LEDs, short for light-emitting diodes, are bulbs that use a semiconductor to generate light more efficiently than traditional incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. Photo credit The Home Depot

The store will limit each customer to five discounts.

Aside from a few extra dollars in your pocket, participating in such a deal would be a good holiday deed for the country. Department of Energy (DOE) figures show that holiday lights consume more than six terawatt hours per year—the equivalent of the electricity consumed by 500,000 homes in one month.

Additional DOE data shows that incandescent can be wildly expensive when compared to their LED counterparts:

Table credit: U.S. Department of Energy

The savings become even more apparent when planning for multiple holiday seasons.

*Assumes 50 C-9 bulbs and 200 mini-lights per tree, with electricity at $0.119 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) (AEO 2012 Residential Average). Prices of lights based on quoted prices for low volume purchases from major home improvement retailers. All costs have been discounted at an annual rate of 5.6%. Life span assumed to be three seasons (1,500 hours) for non-LED lights. Table credit: U.S. Department of Energy

Though Home Depot is the first to announce an LED-based discount, other national retailers are making energy efficiency a priority this season. Here are a few developments, reported by the Kansas City Star:

  • Half of the Christmas lights offered by Wal-Mart this year are LEDs. A string of 50 mini LED lights are selling for $5, down from $6.30 last year. "We know our customers are gravitating toward them,” Debbie Serr, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman, told the newspaper.
  • Costco is selling no incandescent Christmas lights at all this year.
  • Christmaslightinstaller.com, which sells, rents and installs Christmas lights in various cities estimates that one-third of its customers are buying LEDs early on.

Visit EcoWatch’s PRODUCTS page for more related news on this topic.

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Aerial view of Ruropolis, Para state, northen Brazil, on Sept. 6, 2019. Tthe world's biggest rainforest is under threat from wildfires and rampant deforestation. JOHANNES MYBURGH / AFP via Getty Images

By Kate Martyr

Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest last month jumped to the highest level since records began in 2015, according to government data.

A total of 563 square kilometers (217.38 square miles) of the world's largest rainforest was destroyed in November, 103% more than in the same month last year, according to Brazil's space research agency.

From January to November this year an area almost the size of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico was destroyed — an 83% overall increase in destruction when compared with the same period last year.

The figures were released on Friday by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), and collected through the DETER database, which uses satellite images to monitor forest fires, forest destruction and other developments affecting the rainforest.

What's Behind the Rise?

Overall, deforestation in 2019 has jumped 30% compared to last year — 9,762 square kilometers (approximately 3769 square miles) have been destroyed, despite deforestation usually slowing during November and December.

Environmental groups, researchers and activists blamed the policies of Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro for the increase.

They say that Bolosonaro's calls for the Amazon to be developed and his weakening support for Ibama, the government's environmental agency, have led to loggers and ranchers feeling safer and braver in destroying the expansive rainforest.

His government hit back at these claims, pointing out that previous governments also cut budgets to environment agencies such as Ibama.

The report comes as Brazil came to loggerheads with the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) over climate goals during the UN climate conference in Madrid.

AOSIS blasted Brazil, among other nations, for "a lack of ambition that also undermines ours."

Last month, a group of Brazilian lawyers called for Bolsonaro to be investigated by the International Criminal Court over his environmental policies.

Reposted with permission from DW.

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