Switching Over to LEDs

Switching Over to LEDs

If you ask the Green Vests in the Holiday Department which lights they recommend to liven up this year’s festivities, they will all agree on LED.

What do they like about these energy-saving lights?

“Just about everything,” says Green Vest Karen Petersen, who has witnessed a mass movement away from traditional incandescent bulbs over the past several years.  “They take so much less power, they’re cool to the touch, they don’t break as easily on concrete if you accidentally drop them, and they stay brilliant, year after year.”

Karen has also noticed that the lack of LED colors (something that has kept incandescent fans loyal to old-style bulbs) has markedly improved.


“Their colors are so much better than they used to be,” she says, “now there are a lot of nice, vibrant, vivid options.”

As any of the holiday helpers will tell you, the myriad of LED styles is growing by the season as well, giving ambiance-seekers access to thin lights, stubby lights, bulbous lights, teardrop-shaped C6 lights, and even those popular snowfall icicle lights.

With how often holiday lovers like to illuminate this time of year, Green Vests say that LEDs are

going to end up paying for themselves in a couple of seasons with the amount of energy they save.

But with all the benefits of LEDs, why stop with the holidays?

“Exactly,” says David Sharman, a Green Vest in the Electrical Department, who likes to outline two main things new LED converts can do in their homes.

“The easiest, quickest thing is to just replace all your standard bulbs with their LED equivalents—and we stock LED replacements for most formats in the home,” he says, adding that most LED bulbs claim to have a lifetime of 25,000 plus hours, based on an average use of 3 hours per day.

The other option, David says, is to retrofit recessed cans with LED fixtures, which can provide 50,000 plus hours of life.

“Most new LEDs are going to resemble incandescent bulbs in both their color and their dimming ability,” he says, “yet they use less than a quarter of the energy.”

Generally speaking, Electrical Green Vests say residents should see their energy consumption go down about 75 percent within a billing period, if their habits stay consistent after the LED switch.

The Green Vests also say they would like to shed some light on a common concern they receive about compact fluorescents, involving toxicity of the components inside.

007“There’s a minute amount of mercury in each bulb,” David says, “but it doesn’t become a concern until irresponsible disposal leads to a larger mercury problem.”

If a bulb breaks or burns out, residents can bring them to an accredited waste facility like Western Disposal, or to the McGuckin Hardware Electrical Department, which handles all spent LEDs except for large tube-style shop lights.

“We recycle compact fluorescents here in the store, in an attempt to reduce the carbon footprint they cause—and to keep them out of the landfills.”

If residents are considering the switch to LEDs, they should come in and ask Green Vests for sales on bulbs and accessories.

“Generally, we have them on special because we are promoting energy efficient options,” David says.