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How much energy is consumed during the holidays?

American household Christmas lights, a favorite holiday tradition, must use up more electricity than some poorer countries, such as El Salvador or Ethiopia do in a year. Bright lights strung on American trees, rooftops and lawns account for 6.63 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity consumption every year, according to a recent blog post by the Center for Global Development.

That’s more than the national electricity consumption of many developing countries. El Salvador uses 5.35 billion kilowatt hours, meanwhile Ethiopia consumes 5.30 billion and Tanzania 4.81 billion. The researchers, Todd Moss and Priscilla Agyapong, used data from a 2008 US Department of Energy report and the World Bank to carry out their research. They added that the 6.63 billion kilowatt hours used by US Christmas lights represents only 0.2 percent of yearly US energy consumption, or enough power to run 14 million refrigerators.

This is quite enlightening when you think about it. This year’s holidays spent at home due to the current conditions can make it difficult to “save” energy. However, it is never too late to be mindful of the energy used for consumption. Try alternating days of use. For example, try a Monday Wednesday Friday schedule for house lights outside rather than everyday from five to midnight. One small change like that can make a huge impact! Happy Holidays!

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