LED lights saving eastern Iowans hundreds, thousands - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

LED lights saving eastern Iowans hundreds, thousands


People are using LED lights now more than ever before.

It's a trend that has grown especially over the last decade, and there's no more of a shining example of that than the increasing number of LEDs popping up in holiday displays.

At the corner of Kaufmann and North Grandview Avenues in Dubuque, a little LED Christmas cheer illuminates the neighborhood, at the home of Jeff Digman.

"They're brighter. They're nicer to look at, I think," Digman said, surveying his house and yard decked out in LED bulbs.

In the five years Digman has been decorating his house, he has made some changes.

"90 percent of my lights are almost LED now in comparison to the old conventional style," Digman said.

Some experts say LEDs last up to 10 times longer than traditional bulbs and use 50 percent less energy.

"Saves me some work, too, because you can run more lights off one outlet," Digman said of the higher-efficiency bulbs.

The switch from traditional lights to LED bulbs has saved him money, too.

"I would say in the five-year transfer, my bill might've changed almost 200 dollars," Digman said.

However, he still keeps a few traditions bulbs, such as those on a special mailbox in his front yard that goes directly to the North Pole. (By the way, Santa does reply to letters dropped there, Digman said.)

For larger displays, such as Hillcrest Family Services' annual Reflections in the Park, the savings from switching to LED bulbs can make a huge difference.

"This is our first year for all-LED," Hillcrest's president and CEO Gary Gansemer said. "We did it to become green. We're very conscious of our environment. Plus, it's going to save us about half on our electrical cost."

Considering running the display every night from Thanksgiving through January 1 normally costs about $10,000, "this could be an extra bonus of $5,000 to help Hillcrest programs," Gansemer said.

Plus, he said, it's hard to deny about these LED bulbs, "they just pop out at you, and everybody going through is going, 'Wow, it's so much different!'"

It's a difference in lights and in energy costs.

Hillcrest's 18th annual Reflections in the Park fundraiser opens for the season at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving and runs 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. every night through and including New Year's Day. It's in Dubuque's Murphy Park off Grandview Avenues and costs $8 per car. All the money helps fund Hillcrest's services.

Friday evening, the day after Thanksgiving, gives Dubuque another one of its holiday traditions. Cable Car Square is hosting its annual Christmas Candlewalk from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the corner of Fourth and Bluff Streets. Santa and Mrs. Claus will ride the Fenelon Place Elevator down to meet and greet the kids gathered at the bottom. This is free and open to the public.

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