CONSUMER ALERT: Cost Of Lighting Up Christmas

Photo of Christmas lights in a box. (Courtesy: KIMT)
Photo of Christmas lights in a box. (Courtesy: KIMT)

Mason City, Iowa (KIMT) — Kramer Ace Hardware, in Mason City, is one of many places to buy Christmas lights in the area.

“For sale wise, our LED light bulbs are flying out more than traditional ones because they do last longer,” manager Kevin Greiner said.

Greiner believes they sell due to our love for the Christmas sights.

“People like twinkling lights, the bright and shiny, anything that draws your attention a lot better than just the standard solid lights,” he said.

But, how much electricity are we using displaying them?

According to the Center for Global Development, the number seems low.  Christmas displays use just 0.2 percent of the nation’s yearly use.  That’s 6.6 billion kilowatt hours however compare that to other countries’ usage, and the numbers say it all.

According to World Bank, El Salvador uses 5.3 billion kilowatts a year to power the entire country, not only Christmas lights.

The United States is getting more efficient.

“This state leads a lot of the other Midwestern states in the amount of energy efficient appliances, steps, and insulation that people have added in their homes,” Justin Foss with Alliant Energy said.

Foss says there are ways to conserve energy this time of year.  Turning lights off when you’re not in the room or home is great, along with saving on heating costs.

“We’re in the winter right now and we’re seeing the longest nights, so by default we’re going to have the lights on the longest.  Understanding that the electricity you’ll use in the winter is not nearly what you’ll use in the summer,” Foss said.

The study was completed to show the difference between wealthy and poor countries, and to make sure we don’t take those beautiful light displays for granted.

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