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A Greener Charlottesville: Holiday Lighting with a Green Twist

By: Myles Henderson Email
By: Myles Henderson Email

As the holidays get closer more and more people are firing up the Christmas lights but they are also raising the electric bill. Putting up the Christmas lights around your house is often times a fun family tradition but can also bring on some holiday headaches. A local company is making the process easier and with a green twist.

Jim Harshaw, owner of Albemarle Window Cleaning says, "LEDs have sort of come to be the new thing in Christmas lighting and five years ago they were more or less unheard of in Christmas lights." LEDs or Light Emitting Diodes were first invented in the early 1900s but have gained big popularity in the past few decades because of there use in telephones, calculators, and TVs. Now the LED technology is making holiday lighting more energy efficient. "The roof line lighting, that we're doing on a house like this, uses one thirty second of the power." A traditional incandescent mini bulb, the kind that you usually see on a Christmas tree, uses about a half a watt per bulb. LED holiday lights only use 4 hundredths of a watt per bulb.

Not only do the LEDs use less energy but they last much longer. "The incandescents that we use are professional grade, or for instance the ones that you can buy at Walmart are usually about a 1500 hour bulb for the incandescents. The LEDs are around 100,000 hours they say."

Albemarle Window Cleaning designs and installs outdoor holiday lighting for homes and businesses across Central Virginia. But this year they have started uses high efficiency LEDs and offering a carbon off-set. Harshaw says, "Someone brought to my attention all of these Christmas lights we install, and we've done probably about a hundred homes over the past 2 or 3 years, and that's a lot of lights and that's a lot of energy." At the end of the year Albemarle Window Cleaning will buy all of the carbon off sets for the lights they use, helping to reduce the carbon footprint of the holiday season.

If your looking to invest in some LED Christmas lights know that they do cost more up front but are well worth the investment, both for your wallet and for the environment.

Be sure to tune in next Friday as we take a look at more green tips for the holiday season.

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