This brief article concentrates on Christmas’ energy consumption increase due to the use of decorations and specific appliances for the season. After a brief introduction on the impact on the CO2 levels of such increase, four tips on energy-efficient alternatives are provided. The proposed options span from considering to switch to less-consuming LED light bulbs up to more innovative solutions such as solar energy powered Christmas lights. The last section hence concentrates on the new emerging technologies developed to save energy during the Christmas holidays. These include flexible and adaptable solar panels for Christmas lighting and Smart Illumination Control systems which help to save energy by automatically turning on and off decorative lights. We conclude by underlining that Christmas should not be jolly only for us but also for the planet itself.
Christmas is indeed the season to be jolly but not when it comes to energy consumption. As a matter of fact, Christmas holidays are characterized by a sharp rise of energy consumption which leads to higher emissions of CO2 (Balestreri, 2018). During Christmas time, energy consumption increases by 30% due to a major use of decorations and appliances (Ibid). To better understand the intensity of this phenomenon, let’s consider the fact that in the US, for example, Christmas decorations account for 6.63 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity consumption. With this in mind, consider that El Salvador’s annual electricity consumption accounts for 5.35 billion kilowatt-hours, Ethiopia’s one for 5.30 billion while Tanzania’s one for 4.81 billion (Moss & Agyapong, 2015).
The research methodology approach of this article is based on the collection and analysis of papers, articles and data. Our aim is not to solve the problems related to the Christmas lights’ energy consumption, but rather to provide a report with information about the topic and data showing common trends across the world and to suggest effective solutions, which already exist, to mitigate the problem. Moreover, to give consistency to the study, we gather shared solutions between countries, thus combining both a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the problem.
During Christmas holidays, it is easy to forget about being energy-conscious as we light up our homes. However, according to our research, several useful tips can help us in saving energy consumption also during the holidays. Firstly, switching to LED lights leads to two main advantages: a 90% reduction in electricity compared to regular Christmas decorations and a duration set between 50.000 and 200.000 hours. Secondly, adopting a timer would allow programming when to switch the lights on and off avoiding energy waste. Furthermore, choosing fiber optic decorations can improve energy consumption rates. Indeed, this type of technology uses a single light source that flows through a fiber cable extending the light beam across the area covered by the cable, allowing much more efficiency and savings. Finally, the adoption of solar energy powered Christmas lights work with no need of a switch: they turn on when it gets dark, and stay on for 8-10 hours.
Having seen the existing practical solutions to the problem, we also deem appropriate to analyze the underlying innovative and emerging technologies developed to save energy during the Christmas holidays. Solar-powered lighting systems utilize one or more solar energy gatherers to generate electricity that is then stored in a battery to power, for example, outdoor Christmas tree’s lights. This lighting system uses flexible solar panels, this means that they can assume various shapes, for example, the form of a star that can be placed at the top of a Christmas tree. On the other hand, Smart Illumination Control systems help to save energy by automatically turning on and off the Christmas lights. Blachere Illumination has integrated this system with its BIOPRINT, a LED illumination light made of completely recyclable biodegradable material, meaning that, when disposed, no unwelcomed carbon footprint is left behind.
This article began by showing the relevance of the issues related to the rise of energy consumption due to Christmas lights. Later on, tips on how to mitigate this issue have been provided, especially underlying the most innovative ones. Finally, in the discussion session, we went deeper into the functioning of the most innovative solutions. We believe that Christmas should be jolly not only for us but also for the planet itself.
This article has been written by the students of the Luiss new Msc in Law, Digital Innovation and Sustainability in the context of the class of Law and Policy of Innovation and Sustainability taught by Professor Christian Iaione. The cluster “Energy” is composed of the following students: Sofia Brunelli, Tommaso Dumontel, Josette Gonzales, Federica Muzi, and Riccardo Negrini.
G. Balestrieri, 2018, “Natale fa impennare i consumi elettrici, ma le luci a Led salvano l’ambiente”, Business insider italia
T. Moss & P. Agyapong, 2015, “US Christmas lights use more energy than entire countries”, Phys.org
Constellation, 2015“10 easy ways to save energy during the holidays”, Blog Constellation.com
X. Juan, L. Jin, D. Xiu-xiang, 2018, Design of LED energy-saving lights in holiday night landscape: a case study on Christmas night landscape in Jinan Parc 66, Shandong Jianzhu University.
N. L. Ballarini, R. J. Ballarini, 2007, Solar-powered lighting system, US Patent.
K. Hogan, Future Home Tech: 8 Energy-Saving Solutions on the Horizon, Energy.gov.
H. Cross, 2019, TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE TOWNS: ’GREEN’ CHRISTMAS LIGHT TECHNOLOGY UNVEILED, Scotland’s Town Partnership.