How to Save Energy with Outdoor Holiday Decorations


The Christmas and end of year holidays should a time of joy, not putting a drain on the wallet or environment. Learn how to save energy with outdoor holiday decorations every holiday season with these 7 easy tips that benefit us all the way around.

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Do Christmas Lights Use a lot of Electricity?

Outdoor Christmas lights and decorations on house

Yes, they can, especially if you’re using incandescent lighting. The national average cost of electricity in the U.S. is $.12/kWh.  If you are using inefficient lighting for multiple hours a night every night for a month, that cost adds up.

Depending on how crazy you go on the decorations, you could pay hundreds of dollars extra during one Christmas/holiday season just on your energy bill. That does not include the cost of the decorations, greenhouse gases emitted, or costs to wildlife (see below).

If you don’t believe me, see how IGS Energy and Electric Choice calculated how much it costs to run a strand of Christmas lights and other decorations.

How Can We Save Energy for Christmas?

Simple: use less energy.  Here are 7 tips on how you can save energy with outdoor holiday decorations, this season and beyond.

1 – Use decorations that don’t require energy

You can’t go wrong sticking with the classic wreath, garland, ribbons, bells, ornaments, or stand-alone figurines.

Outdoor Christmas lights on houses before dark
Where do you see the energy saving opportunities?

2 – Boost the twinkle with reflective decorations

You’ll use less electrical lighting with reflective bulbs, stainless steel mirror balls, or flameless candles (don’t forget to use rechargeable batteries).

3 – Use LED Christmas lights

Try dressing up the non-electrical decorations with a simple stand or two of LED rope lighting.

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4 – Go LED and solar

For the best outdoor Christmas lights, use LED energy efficient Christmas lights with the use of solar power.  Put outdoor solar lamps on a low setting and facing towards the ground decorations instead of upwards, or use solar string lights.

5 – Do not use inflatables

First, inflatables can be pricey as-is. Depending on the size of the yard inflatable, you could be spending approximately $3 to $15 extra a month if operating the inflatable 8 hours every day.  Run it more, it will cost more. Also, the taller the inflatable the more it impacts the aviary population. Ditch the inflatable.

6 – Limit the lighting time

Turn outdoor decorations on later at night to limit running time, and ensure to turn off all decorations before you go to bed. Better yet, get an outdoor, waterproof timer and set it to automatically turn on and off

Outdoor Christmas lights on house during the day
Don’t leave lights on all night and into the morning.

Costs to Wildlife

Turning off your outdoor lights at night is not only a safety measure and saves money, but it also reduces light pollution.

One thing we humans tend to forget is that light pollution affects birds and nocturnal animals negatively. The lighting can disrupt their biological clocks, sleep patterns, and even keep them from reproducing.

So, while you’re decorating the outdoors for the holidays:

  • do not point lighting upwards,
  • stay away from putting lighting and other decorations in the trees and on your roof, and
  • nix the holiday music outdoors. 
Outdoor Christmas lights and decorations on house and trees
Avoid putting lights in trees and higher positions.

7 – Plan your holiday lighting wisely

Be safe and do not put too much electrical load on one outlet, and use a power strip with surge protector at each outlet for holiday lighting.

Last, make sure you only use lighting labeled for the outdoors, not indoors.

Don’t forget your FREE Energy Tips Checklist! What are you waiting for?


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Gwen is the Founder of CORR Concepts and a Sustainability professional with an MBA in Sustainable Enterprises and LEED AP ID+C accreditation from the GBCI. She is also the Founder of the solo travel blog. As a Sustainability professional and Earth Steward, environmental sustainability and biodiversity protection is her "religion" while travel is her passion.

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