Green tip for week #32 — Week of December 7, 2008

Go LED (light emitting diode)!

If you are familiar with some of the common terms used when talking about “going green” or environmental responsibility, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are probably not new to you.  For many, LEDs (light emitting diode) lights are not a new term either, but what may surprise you is how many applications they now have, and how much energy they save.

During the Christmas and holiday season, we see many people adorning their trees, bushes, and homes with beautiful strands of light.  Although such decoration can really add sparkle to a dreary night, it has always come at a cost.  The bulbs used have traditionally not been all that energy efficient, and they can burn out somewhat quickly (as compared to LED).

You can now find Christmas lights that use LED bulbs, making the energy consumption and cost of operation much lower; as an added benefit, these LED lights have a longer lifespan as well.  Some pre-lit Christmas trees even come with LED lights already installed (saving energy, money, and hassle).  As an added benefit, LED lights can produce color, without having to have a color filter or lens applied as many colored lights do.  Since they tend to burn much cooler (less heat energy emitted), they are ideal for holiday decoration applications.

Even past the holidays, you should be thinking about LEDs for their many other useful applications.  LEDs are now being incorporated into traffic lights, billboards, electronic signs and scoreboards, automotive lighting, street lights, and other commercial applications.

For the home, you can now find many LED bulbs that will be direct replacements for your traditional light bulbs, and some can now even be used as a replacement for halogen lights.  You already likely know that halogens can be extremely bright and are very modern looking, but they consume a significant amount of energy and generate a lot of unnecessary heat.  Using LEDs as a replacement can reduce heat output, and reduce energy consumption!

If you are looking for something useful to have around the home, LED flashlights, cabinet lights, closet lighting, and other standalone applications can be terrific.  These products tend to be great backups for traditional light sources, as they have long life, minimal battery/energy consumption, and can be very handy.

Next time you are at your hardware store, don’t forget to look for LED lights as a replacement for the old ones – whether they are for your holiday lights, light bulbs, halogen fixtures, flashlights, or anywhere else you need lighting.

Small steps can make a big difference — incorporate the tips at Green52.org and begin making an impact today!

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