Phyllis Theermann
alexAlex was at the local hardware store the other day picking up Holiday lights.  As many others this time of year, he was looking at LED lights versus the traditional incandescent lights.
In past years he avoided LED lights because he didn’t like the cold “blue” light they seemed to emit.  This year, however, he was happy to see that there were many options for “warm white” lights, which look very similar to the traditional incandescent mini lights.
Alex admitted he was conflicted about the price.  The LED lights still cost more than the incandescents.

The environmental side of him wanted to buy them, but the practical, yankee side wanted to buy the less expensive.

After some quick mental calculations to incorporate the energy savings of LED lights, Alex found to his delight that they aren’t more expensive after all.  It goes like this:
Incandescent LED
Cost of  string of 100 lights $5.95 $19.98
Energy Usage per Hour 40 W 8 W
Hours on per night (4:30 to 10:30pm) 6 H 6 H
Nights on per year (Dec & Jan) 61 Days 61 Days
Energy Usage per Year 14.64 kWh 2.93 kWh
Electricity Cost: 13.5 ¢/kWh 13.5 ¢/kWh
Electricity Cost per Year  $1.98  $0.40
Annual Electricity Rate of Increase (Average over last 50 years in US) 3% 3%
Total Cost over 8 years $23.52 $23.49
Warranty 1 yr 7 yrs
Over 8 years they are effectively the same price.
However, he knows that every year around the holidays when the incandescent strings come out of the box, he will find one or two that have so many bulbs out that they are unusable.

If you factor that into the economics the payback is even shorter.

The economics of LED lights inside the home are even better as you use those lights all year long.  So, if you haven’t already bought your holiday lights for the year, make the smart choice and buy LED.  If you have all your holiday lights up already, make the switch next year and start looking inside your home for other lights to switch.

As you probably have heard, the Town of Wellesley is making the switch too.

Happy Holidays to all.

Phyllis Theermann

town hall lightsSustainable Wellesley Suggests Residents & Businesses Follow Town’s Lead

The Town of Wellesley is leading the way to a more sustainable holiday season by switching Town holiday lights to LEDs (light-emitting diodes) and setting many of them to go off at 11 pm. Municipal Light Plant Director Dick Joyce says the Town will save money by changing to LED lights and by making sure most of the lights are off when residents aren’t awake to enjoy them.

This season, the Town will decorate the lawn at Town Hall, 30 trees, and 50 lampposts. All but the lamppost lights will go off at 11 pm, according to a decision by the Wellesley Board of Selectmen.

Sustainable Wellesley is encouraging Wellesley residents and businesses to follow the Town’s lead by using LED holiday lights to celebrate sustainably and sensibly. The technology behind LED lighting has improved dramatically in recent years and warm white LED holiday lights can be indistinguishable from incandescent lights.

Some important facts about LED holiday lights:

  • LEDs use 65 to 90 percent less energy than incandescents.
  • LEDs can last up to 10 times longer than incandescents.
  • LEDs run cooler than incandescents and pose a lower fire risk.

Turning holiday lights off by 11 pm – or putting the lights on a timer to go off automatically – will save even more energy and money. Residents and businesses can take sustainability measures a step further by signing up to get their electricity from renewable power sources through the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant’s Power to Choose program. This low-cost option is available online at, or by calling the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant, 781-235-7600, ext. 3366.