How Much Energy Do Those Famous Light Shows Use?

How Much Energy Do Those Famous Light Shows Use?

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Taryn Williford
Dec 9, 2010

One of our favorite memories from childhood was driving down to the Clot Family Christmas House. The Clots were local celebrities, at least in our neighborhood, for putting up thousands of lights and animated displays each December. There's families like the Clots all over America; the ones who get into the spirit of Christmas with over-the-top decorations—usually funded solely by the family and donations from the public. Do you have any clue how much they cost? We do, now that House Logic has estimated the cost of 4 locally famous light displays from around the continent.

As if you needed more proof that LEDs were more energy efficient, Home Renovation site House Logic has gone ahead and estimated the cost of four locally famous holiday light displays (using the average price per kWh in each display's region), before and after their hypothetical switch to LEDs:



The Faucher Family light display in Delaware
Running for 25 years.
Lights: 1,000,000
Estimated cost per hour: $686/hour
Total cost of the display (4 hours per day for 30 days): $82,320/month
Estimated cost using only LEDs: $89/hour; $10,680/month
Possible electric bill savings: $597/hour; $71,640/month



The Zimmerman House on Balboa Island, California
Uses custom-developed computer hardware & software to synchronize the lights.
Lights: 25,000
Estimated cost per hour: $19/hour
Total cost of the display: $2,280/month
Estimated cost using only LEDs: $2.50/hour; $300/month
Possible electric bill savings: $16.50/hour; $1,980/month



Norton's Winter Wonderland in Burbank, California
Running for 40 years.
Lights: 10,000
Estimated cost per hour: $7.50/hour
Total cost of the display: $900/month
Estimated cost using only LEDs: $1/hour; $120/month
Possible electric bill savings: $6.50/hour; $780/month



The Lagerstrom's Light Display in British Columbia, Canada
Much of their display is hand-made.
Lights: 250,000
Estimated cost per hour: $17/hour
Total cost of the display: $2,040/month
Estimated cost using only LEDs: $2/hour or $240 for the month
Possible electric bill savings: $15/hour or $1,800 for the month




Many of the families are already starting to make the economical switch to LEDs. But we here at Unplggd have even more suggestions for these families to cut their savings:

  • Rely on a solar sensor to turn on your lights. This way, they'll go on right at dusk, whether or not you're home to turn them on. You don't want to disappoint your first evening oglers, but you don't need to turn them on early if you're leaving the house.
  • Rely on a timer to turn the lights off. Since every bit counts, we suggest turning off your enormous light display in phases. Figure out when the passerby traffic begins to slow, then set a timer to turn off minor portions of the display (rotating figurines, spotlights or maybe every-other-light-strand). Keep the system going until all the lights shut off around the same time as your last visitors.
  • Switch to solar lights, at least for some of your strands. If the comments on our post about solar Christmas Lights are any indication, they're not very reliable. But if you switch just some of your lights to solar energy, you'll reap the savings instantly.



(Images: HGTV, ZimChristmas.com, DickNorton.com, Lightup.ca)

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