Good Question: How Much Do LED Lights Save?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Holidays are full of tradition, like decorating with Christmas lights.

Many stores are moving away from traditional lights and selling LED lights which are considered “greener.”

That got us wondering, what do LEDs really save us?

Lights are sparking a debate on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis.

The traditionalists can stick to the trees that line the street. The city said they’re dotted with old fashioned lights because they’re still working just fine.

But when it comes to Holidazzle Parade — which runs down the Nicollet Mall during December — all 300 costumes in the parade shine because of LEDs.

Workers converted the Capt. Hook float this year and it is now twinkling with the help of 8,000 LED lights.

LED lights don’t burn as hot, they’re not as heavy, and in the long run, save you more money on energy.

“They’re actually 10 times less costly than the regular incandescent lamp,” said electrician Mark Chemensky.

He said people shouldn’t let the sticker shock fool them.

“They are more expensive, but as the technology evolves … the price will be coming down,” he said. “Let’s say you have them for three seasons, you’re going to be saving from there on out. Also the bulb lasts a lot longer and they’re more durable, so it’s a much better light.”

Chemensky said another plus to a big project. You can string more LEDs together and you shouldn’t trip a breaker, because the LEDs load is lighter.

  • Ryan Pletz

    Where is the house located in Bloomington that you feature in this story? Looks incredible!! I would love to take my daughter to see this.

    • OneEyedJack

      1558 Girard Ave, It is my neighbor. It took them 5 days to put all the lights up with the help of migrant workers.

    • Patti

      Drive down Cedar – HWY 77. It’s on the right if you’re going south overlooking the river. I love that tree. Every year it makes the holidays a little brighter!

  • Our led's are too bright

    Ok I was ready to make a political comment but it’s actually nice to see them absent here.

  • mel

    I don’t like the LED’s. I don’t know why, but they give me a headache when I look at them. I bought 6 boxes of LED’s on clearance last year intending to switch out the lights on our tree. When I plugged them in, I had an instant physical reaction. I sold them on craigslist and stuck with what I have. Anyone else experience this?

    • Mark

      A significant but small portion of the population has light sensitivities to particular frequencies. This is most clearly demonstrated by the warning labels on many video game devices. It is certainly possible the particular LED’s you had output in a manner your system would not tolerate. It might be worth trying a different brand to see if it is all LED’s, but given how many places use them for accent lighting or car headlights it’s unlikely to be a universal intolerance.

  • Chris

    So how much do these lights use and how much is actually saved?
    The percentage is fine, but why not answer the question completely?
    How much electricity does a run of 10 strings use (old and new)?
    We could then better manage with our auto timers, etc.

    • Mark

      It will depend on the particular lights you are buying. LED’s range in output from 17 to 160 Lumens/Watt, while incandescents are about 15 lumens/watt and CFL’s are up to 100 Lumens/Watt. Add in the hazardous waste costs we ingore by making and dumping CFL’s in China and LED’s are a clear winner on cost. Light quality, that’s up to you but I prefer them to CFL’s, nothing beats a nice halogen, but man they waste power.

  • Do LEDs Really Save Money? « CBS Minnesota

    […] out this Good Question to see how much LED lights can save […]

  • Kirk Allen Larson

    When the Christmas Lights on your Tree cost more then your Double-Wide, you might be a Red-Neck.

    Sorry…perfect place for a joke.

  • also been there

    I really dislike LED’s. The colors are so cartoonish and make homes look like Holiday stations. Truly awful. The tree on cedar is an exception…it looks even better in led but that’s due to the fantastic job they did.

  • Keith Olsen

    One thing never discussed is the difference in the “greenness factor” between using any lighting device (LEDs or conventional) outdoors vs. indoors. Outdoors, any inefficiency is lost as heat to the environment. Indoors, any inefficiency is lost as heat to the home, which helps reduce the heat load on the furnace. Thus LEDs used outdoors are less green than those used indoors. Obviously, the situation is reversed in summer.

    in summer

  • ledlightings01

    Nice post! That is true LED lights are quite energy efficient so they can save energy as well as money.Due to their less energy consumption you wont feel hot. Get best LED lights or bulbs online by visit us at

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