LED holiday lights promote energy efficiency - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

LED holiday lights promote energy efficiency

INDEPENDENCE (KWWL) -- A holiday tradition for many eastern Iowa families may have a new look this year.

The lights!

Light displays on buildings, trees, and yards are being changed in the name of energy efficiency.

The bright lights of "Christmas at the Depot in Independence have gone green.

Not literally.

There's still a lot of red, blue, and white.

The Buchanan County Tourism Bureau is using LED lights for its holiday display starting this year.

"It'll be a big savings because usually our light bill is very shocking after Christmas," said Judy Lauer of the Tourism Bureau.

The bureau says the normal cost for the display runs about $85.

This year's it's expected to be $2.87.

In November, the city's electric utility donated about 1000 lights for the display to promote energy efficiency.

"You certainly lower demand on the grid so you don't need to build more power plants if you can lower your consumption of electricity so it definitely helps relieve the need for more power plants to be built," said Independence Light & Power General Manager Darrel Wenzel.

Anyone who's ever strung Christmas lights whether indoor or outdoor lights knows they can sometimes get very hot. LED lights still remain cool whether outdoor or indoor. It's a special quality.

"Because they're light emitting diodes, there's less load or wattage coming out of the bulb so they don't get as hot, they last longer, don't get as hot, they're safer and more efficient on your electricity bill," said Wenzel

While "Christmas at the Depot" is a 17 year tradition in Independence, its light display is hoping to spur a new tradition.

While just about every utility company in Iowa provides incentives or rebates to promote energy efficiency, there are none for winter lights.

However, several utilities in Minnesota offer rebates for LED Christmas lights.

Online Reporter:  Bob Waters

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