With 114,000 lights hung in the Allen Arena Mall (12,000 on the giant Christmas tree alone), Christmas lights can be a major expense. But this year the university is expecting to save up to $12,000 in energy costs by using the LED (light emitting diode) lights, said Don Johnson, director of facilities and associate director for sustainable facilities management.
In addition, the lights require less labor because when one bulb goes out, it does not make the whole strand go out. It takes a month and a half to hang all the Christmas lights on campus, so it saves a lot of time when workers no longer need to search hundreds of Christmas lights to find one blown-out bulb.
Based on his observations of Christmas decorations on homes and in the stores, 2008 looks to be a big year for LED Christmas lights, Johnson said. He has seen them in more stores and on more houses than ever before. LED lights are more expensive, but the price will go down over the coming years, he said.