Saturday, November 24, 2007

Really, more green than red

Wow, holidays just came and kicked me in the butt this year.

In order to avoid being caught off-guard by the impending holiday season, the happy couple concocted a continuous reminder of the upcoming festivities in the form of a plant draped with electronics and doo-dads. Feel free to follow our festive lead.

LED Christmas lights
How does it look? I'm very pleased with the whole set-up. The lights are low-energy Phillips LED lights in the "soft white" color. Being a complete green-compulsive that I am now, I was unable to just go with regular lights. These are $12 at Target, not anymore than regular lights, and, according to the general hype, use 80-90% of the energy. That's enough to switch if you already have a set, that's for sure.

The interesting thing you will notice about these lights, despite the strange things they do to your eyes when the lights or your head is moving, is that they emit no heat whatsoever. Grab the bulbs and you feel nothing but room-temp plastic. This is where all the energy savings is coming from and, when you understand this, you begin to understand some of the energy waste that plagues our, well, world.

Light bulbs certainly don't need to emit heat to light our way, only photons. Same goes for your car engine; you don't need all the heat of a combustion engine to get from one place to another. The heat, in fact, is a bad thing for our cars (particularly turbocharged ones like my VW). Heat, in many instances, is just a byproduct of the process required to get energy out of a substance/material. Find a technology that gets rid of an energetic byproduct (heat for lighting your house or light for, say, welding metal) and you save energy.

Anyways, I'm 100% satisfied with the LED light purchase and would recommend storing as many strands of regular lights as you can afford. Save some dough, save some electrons, and lower your risk of fire. Also, pick up a glass pickle ornament while you're out:

LED Christmas lights and a glass pickle

Wiki says:

The Christmas Pickle is an American tradition related to the Christmas tree. In this tradition, a family decorates its Christmas tree with ornaments including one glass pickle. On Christmas morning, the first child to find the pickle on the tree would get a special gift and would supposedly have a year of good fortune.

No kids here and I'm not a particularly traditional American but the thought of a random, glass pickle on the Christmas tree was simply too enticing to ignore.


Anonymous said...

the positives probably outnumber the negatives, but what about the fact that you can't replace individual bulbs as they expire? i understand that they last for about 10 years, so it would take a while (and perhaps they'd all die at the same time, with a big, dramatic blackout) but doesn't that make the whole strand eventually-disposable? plus is it possible to recycle your less energy-efficient strands? so many questions.


Bridget said...

the CHristmas pickle! My family would not open gifts until that stupid pickle is found. In fact one christmas i got my mom a puppy she named her Pickle.. after the xmas pickle.

I love that you got a live tree. And the lights! no heat? amazing!

Josh C said...

The positives BIG TIME outweigh the negatives. The energy savings is very important and the waste is less than nominal. Plus, as you said, they last a long time so not much to worry about.

Honestly, consumption is MUCH MORE IMPORTANT than expulsion right now. More explained in The Book (close to a soft release ;)

Josh C said...

Kat: "is it possible to recycle your less energy-efficient strands?" totally missed that first time around... quite possible to do but two things to consider: 1) the time it would take to re-wire each bulb individually and 2) the power source may not be rated the same. Power source issue would be easy, individual light bulbs would be tedious to say the least.

Josh C said...

B: I never heard of the tradition until Anna pointed out the pickle at the store (THAT sounded bad). She wasn't too sure about the origination so I Wiki'ed it (because that's what you do when you don't know something, period).

Anonymous said...

i meant can you send your old strands to the recycling center? i just imagined everyone's tangles of old xmas lights piling up in landfills as they attempt to embrace more eco-friendly and cost-effective holiday decorations.

i'd feel a wee bit guilty tossing a functioning- if less green- string of lights, although that's not an issue for me personally, since my first very own xmas tree i bought last year was a fake branchy thing from cost plus with leds running throughout (it was much more festive than it sounds).

anyhoo, i'm just considering the waste in addition to the savings.

x-mas lights that don't produce heat are like a christmas miracle for my dad. one less thing for him to fret about (he really did used to limit tree light time in fear of overheating). safer xmasses for all.

now, how does one get their hands on one of those soft Books of yours? (i don't know what a soft release is, at as far as books are concerned. eew.)


Josh C said...

"i meant can you send your old strands to the recycling center?" negative, not too cost effective right now. It's much easier/cheaper for them to just make new wire.

"anyhoo, i'm just considering the waste in addition to the savings." What I'm saying is that the energy waste far outweighs the physical waste of the lights. We actually don't produce as much garbage as you might think. Another option is to use the low-efficiency lights in places you don't turn the lights on very often and use the LEDs for the tree.

Ok, the soft release comment is TOTALLY OUT OF LINE, KAT... don't make me blog-ban you! :)

Anonymous said...

:0 you wouldn't!

that's what i wanted to know, whether savings outweighed the waste. i believe you.

i'm sorry, it's just a kinda graphic phrase. and now i've ruined it for you. but what about those books, anyway? gimme the deets.