U.S. Festive Decorations Use More Electricity Than These Countries Do In A Year

Houses like this use up a lot of electricity during the festive period. V Smoothe via Wikimedia Commons

Some people go to extraordinary lengths to keep up with the Joneses during the festive period, decorating their houses, lawns, mailboxes, cars and even pets with all sorts of sparkly decorations. Often these involve fairy lights and other electrical devices, resulting in a pretty hefty Christmas energy bill. In fact, the amount of electricity used to power these festive decorations in the U.S. alone is greater than the entire annual consumption of some developing countries.

According to a study by the U.S Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration, seasonal lighting over the holiday period in 2008 accounted for a staggering 6.63 billion kilowatt hours of electricity use.

To put this into perspective, the Center for Global Development recently published a blog post comparing this energy consumption with that of other nations. For instance, Cambodia uses 3.06 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in an entire year, which is less than half of the amount used to power America’s festive decorations.

Other nations whose annual consumption is less than that used by these decorations include Ethiopia, El Salvador, Tanzania and Nepal.

As if that weren’t enough to think about, these Christmas lights account for just 0.2 percent of America’s total annual electrical energy consumption. So, maybe it’s time to start toning it down a little when it comes to snazzing up the house during the holiday season.


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