How to choose energy-efficient Christmas decorations to keep bills down

It seems one in six households won’t be turning on the lights this Christmas, in order to save on energy costs.

And with the bleak cost of living crisis making the festive season even more expensive this year, it’s not hard to see why.

New research from Go.Compare Energy has revealed that 27% will be using fewer lights this Christmas – with 12% saying they won’t be decking the halls at all.

If you still want to get in the festive spirit, but are very conscious of the dent it will inevitably make in your bank balance, you’re not alone.

But it’s worth pointing out that even small swaps can make a real difference, in terms of saving money.

As a result, we’ve asked experts about the best energy-efficient decorations to choose – in order to keep bills to a minimum.

LED lights are essential

Angela Slater, a gardening expert at Hayes Garden World, says: ‘Presently, most of us are experiencing a squeeze on our cost of living and having to make sacrifices. So, every little saving makes a difference and switching your Christmas lights to low energy LEDs is essential.

‘The initial purchase cost may be more than buying long life lights but this will be more than made up for in the savings made on the electricity bill.’

Angela explains that LEDs are 5 to 10 times more economical than the traditional filament lights that lots of us a familiar with.

She explains: ‘This is because they use a lot less power to achieve the same light.

‘As a bonus, they are low voltage (which is safer) and they are cold to the touch – so essential if you have small children in the house. Other benefits are that the bulbs are practically unbreakable and they last an average of 10,000 hours. 

‘If you run the lights for an average of eight hours a day over 30 days of Christmas, they should last 40 years and cost less than a pound a year.’

In fact, the team at Loop recently found that a set of 400 LED string lights could cost as little as 8p per day if left on for eight hours per day.

Whereas decorations like a three-piece lighted display could cost around £4.83 per day to run over the festive period 

Buy lights with a timer

You can easily cut the cost of running Christmas lights by purchasing a set that features a timer.

Angela says: ‘This ensures that you don’t leave them on by mistake. When you have the Christmas tree lights on, try and turn off all the other lighting.’

Gareth Kloet, a Go.Compare energy spokesperson, added: ‘Timed lights are also a great energy saver, particularly if you struggle to remember to turn your lights off at bedtime – which is also a fire hazard.’

And it seems certain settings are better than others too.

Gareth says: ‘Additionally, if your lights have a flashing option, this will use less energy than continual lighting.’

Go for solar-powered

Adam Smith, the founder and CEO of Eco Energy Geek, says using solar-powered lights outdoors is another great way to save energy – if you want to decorate the exterior of your house (perhaps you’re in competition with your neighbour?).

He says: ‘These lights are powered by the sun, so you don’t have to worry about running up your electric bill. You can also find battery-operated lights that are ideal for using indoors.’

And there’s no need to worry about the shorter winter days. 

Gareth adds: ‘Although the days are now much shorter, bright mornings and afternoons still provide ample daylight to charge solar lights.’

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