The holiday season is always an exciting time of year, and the way people get into the spirit is simply amazing. Lights and decorations adorn houses looking to get into the festive mood, but were you aware these outdoor lights aren’t the most environmentally friendly?
Most people don’t realize the decorations they put up have the potential to harm the environment, but there are a few easy steps to minimize any damage and to allow for a “greener” holiday season.
How Does It Hurt?
Most people are not aware that the amount of extra light produced during the holiday season can actually be harmful to the environment. The excess of artificial lights during the night is called light pollution, and is harmful in several ways.
- Urban Sky Glow – Ever wonder why you can’t see the stars at night? That’s due to increased urban sky glow, making it nearly impossible to see the night sky.
- Light Trespass – Trouble getting to sleep at night? It might be in part due to the glow of your own lights outside, or the lights of your neighbors. This also affects the wildlife at night, driving them away from areas they would normally go.
- Glare – Careful driving under bright lights at night. Glare can hurt your eyes and make it difficult to see.
- Clutter – All these previous problems combined contribute to clutter, and destroy the ambiance of a nighttime environment. Clutter never allows our eyes to fully adjust to the dark, making it difficult for us to see at night, and decreasing overall safety.
Aside from the effects of light pollution, outdoor lighting can have other adverse effects, such as creating fire hazards or putting a strain on your electricity.
What Can Be Done?
Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take to slightly reduce light pollution this time of year, and make it safer and cheaper to decorate outside.
LED Holiday Lights
Perhaps the most important solution is making the switch to LED lighting. Incandescent bulbs take significantly more energy to light, and thus cost significantly more to keep on compared to LED bulbs. The heat produced by incandescent bulbs is also significantly more than that of an LED bulb. By changing your holiday lights to LED, not only are you saving more money, but reducing the fire hazard that normal incandescent lights create.
Another great way to save money on your electric bill while reducing the amount of light pollution is to attach a timer to your lights. With timers, you can have your lights on at the best time of night and not have to worry about accidentally leaving them on when you go to bed. To best take advantage of your timers, set them from 7 p.m. to whenever you normally go to bed. The highest energy consumption typically happens between 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., so it is best to avoid that time and turn your lights on after.
Less is More
One of the simplest ways to reduce light pollution and energy consumption is to put up less lights this or next season.
And often times, less can be more when it comes to decoration.
Simple and clean decoration ideas, with fun themes in mind, look prettier and keep you, your neighbors, and the environment happy. And with LED lights, not only do you spend less on your electric bill, but you can create more colorful and intricate displays using less than what incandescent bulbs would take.
Want Some More Thayer Holiday Cheer?
If you found this blog inspiring and wanted to see our other holiday themed blogs, check out our next most recent: Full of Food AND Light this Holiday Season. Or see what we wrote about during last year’s holiday season: Dreaming of a Bright Christmas.