LED Lighting for the Holidays

LED Christmas LightsThe  hol­i­days are here!  And this means there will be an abun­dance of hol­i­day lights light­ing up the night well into the new year.

Of course, with all the fes­tive cel­e­brat­ing there are light­ing risks, safety concerns—and  many rewards. To be sure, it’s a time when home­own­ers and busi­nesses use a lot more elec­tric­ity. And there is a smart way to think and act when bulbs are burn­ing bright to reduce costs, min­i­mize safety risks and still get the light you need.

First off,  for any­one still parad­ing out the old incan­des­cent hol­i­day lights now is the ideal time to trade them in for LEDs. I  can’t sing their praises enough for their last­ing value, energy effi­ciency and long-term sav­ings they can bring. This same holds true for hol­i­day LEDs. So if you haven’t already done so trade in your incan­des­cents and string up your new LEDs. For bay area res­i­dents con­tact Ris­ing Sun Energy, a renew­able energy non­profit located in San Fran­cisco. In years past, and pre­sum­ably for 2014, Ris­ing Sun will let you swap your old Christ­mas lights for energy-efficient LEDs—and there is no charge for the exchange.

Garden Of LightsThe ben­e­fits of LED light­ing include:

  • 90% less energy con­sumed than incan­des­cent bulbs
  • A 25,000 hour life span, which  is 25x longer than incan­des­cents and 2.5 times longer than com­pa­ra­ble CFLs
  •  Made of 95% recy­clable material
  • A gift that keeps on giv­ing (light)—sometimes for 30 years or more
  • They are afford­able: a strand of  hol­i­day lights from the big box stores such as Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Wal­mart run between $20-$30 per strand
  • Hol­i­day LED lights come in a vari­ety of inter­est­ing styles and colors

Make LEDs your gift to your­self this year. If you don’t already have them in your home, make the change. They will cost a bit more than other lights, but LEDs make up for it with energy effi­ciency and long-term savings.

How Can You Maximize Winter Light?

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The shorter days of win­ter offer plenty of daz­zling light, and the brac­ing tem­per­a­tures this time of year often cre­ate a feel­ing of excite­ment in the air. But, hon­estly, most of us would pre­fer a few more hours of sun­light at the end of each day.

Decem­ber 21 marks the win­ter sol­stice, the short­est day of the year. So what can you do to max­i­mize the fad­ing light and make your home more “light friendly” and comfortable?

You could jaunt off to a coun­try where it’s sum­mer right now and make a hotel your home. By fly­ing off to Chile, for exam­ple, you could even get the added bonus of get­ting your Chilean fruit directly from the source. But a trip to the south­ern hemi­sphere to chase the sum­mer sea­son is not real­is­tic for most of us. So what are the staying-put options for off­set­ting these shorter win­ter days?

I would first sug­gest look­ing at the string of hol­i­day lights in your home and con­sider rethink­ing their pur­pose. Some can be used to brighten up an oth­er­wise dark cor­ner of a room—strung around a man­tel and lay­ered with exist­ing lights in a room. Hol­i­day lights can be placed ver­ti­cally along a wall, posi­tioned diag­o­nally or even framed around a door way.

Lay­er­ing is a con­cept that cer­tainly applies to win­ter light­ing. Lay­er­ing is about rely­ing on mul­ti­ple types of lights to illu­mi­nate a room. It typ­i­cally starts with an ambi­ent (gen­eral) light­ing, which may include recessed lights, chan­de­liers, track lights, out­side lights, and torchieres (lights with a tall stand). Wall-mounted lights can do won­ders for cast­ing warm light into an oth­er­wise dark­ened room, and accent light­ing can also high­light a dimly-lit area. For a sub­tle effect you can even add lights under a kitchen cabinet.

That unpleas­ant feel­ing of enter­ing your home from the pitch-black night can be mit­i­gated by installing an auto­mated light­ing sys­tem. Set it up, fig­ure out which lights you want to turn on before it gets dark– the kitchen, a hall­way, the liv­ing room or even a bathroom—and you’re good to go.

Exte­rior light­ing is also a wise choice for those who want to avoid singing the win­ter blues. The fad­ing win­ter light can be bal­anced out by installing attrac­tive land­scape light­ing. Land­scape light­ing will increase your home’s curb appeal, add to its finan­cial value—and pro­vide a mea­sure of secu­rity; motion-sensor lights can illu­mi­nate a garage, walk­way or entry way. For pro­mot­ing win­ter light, our Edi­son Out­door Light­ing pack­age is a good place to start. It offers:

  • A com­ple­men­tary design con­sul­ta­tion to dis­cuss the light­ing affects you want to achieve
  • A custom-lighting plan with the tech­ni­cal know-how to meet your aes­thetic preferences
  • A pro­fes­sion­ally installed, low-voltage LED light­ing sys­tem for energy savings

What­ever solu­tion you choose for off­set­ting the shorter win­ter days, remem­ber there are a wide vari­ety of light­ing options to extend that com­fort­ing feel­ing of a well-lit home environment—even as the days get shorter and the sea­sons change.