This holiday season, the South County Energy Efficiency Partnership wants you to be energy efficient. An easy way to do that is by switching from standard incandescent holiday lights to LED (light-emitting diode) lights. LEDs are a great way to save money, and they are safer for families and better for the environment.

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» LED lights are energy efficient and environmentally friendly. They save up to 98 percent of the electricity that is needed to power conventional painted or ceramic coated bulbs and about 90 percent less energy than standard incandescent string lights. Also, the low electricity use of LEDs means fewer carbon emissions. And, because they last 50,000 hours or more (up to 10 years), the average household will need to replace and dispose of their holiday lighting much less often, decreasing waste.

» LEDs are safer than standard incandescent holiday lights. They generate much less heat when they operate so they are cool to the touch, and they are less likely to overload a circuit. As a result, LED lights are much safer to operate in close proximity to combustible materials such as Christmas trees.

» LEDs save money. Based on the recent national average cost of electricity, it will cost the average household $9 for a 30-day holiday season to illuminate a single Christmas tree with five strings of 25 lamp incandescent string lights. In contrast, the cost to illuminate the same tree for the same period of time with LED string lighting would be 90 cents. It may not seem like a lot of money, but the average household typically illuminates more than a Christmas tree.

SCEEP is holding a special Holiday Light Exchange through Dec. 19, or while supplies last. All residents of Goleta, Carpinteria and Santa Barbara are encouraged to bring at least one strand of working incandescent holiday lights to exchange for one energy-efficient strand of LED holiday lights.

There is no cost to exchange lights, but to be eligible, participants must be residential customers of Southern California Edison. The light supply is limited to one strand of LED lights per household on a first-come, first-served basis. Exchanged lights will be recycled by MarBorg Industries

To participate in the Holiday Light Exchange, residents can go to the following locations at the following times:


» Carpinteria City Hall, 5775 Carpinteria Ave.; 805.684.5405; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.


» Goleta City Hall, 130 Cremona, Suite B; 805.961.7500; 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday.

Santa Barbara

» Westside Community Center, 423 W. Victoria St.; 805.963.7567; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

» Franklin Neighborhood Center, 1136 E. Montecito St.; 805.963.7605; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

» Central Library, 40 E. Anapamu St.; 805.564.5601; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

» Community Environmental Council, 26 W. Anapamu St., second floor; 805.963.0583, ext. 105; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

SCEEP also is hosting one-day holiday light exchanges:

1st Thursday
5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 4
1st Thursday Holiday Tree Decorating Station
Borders Bookstore patio (in front)
900 State St., Santa Barbara

5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 5
Goleta Valley Community Center Tree Lighting Ceremony
5679 Hollister Ave., Goleta

Goleta Farmer’s Market
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 14
Camino Real Marketplace, 7004 Marketplace Drive (in front of Borders), Goleta

Other one-day light exchanges will be announced as scheduled.

The South County Energy Efficiency Partnership is a collaboration of Southern California Edison and the cities of Carpinteria, Goleta and Santa Barbara, and Santa Barbara County.

The program is funded by California utility ratepayers and administered by Southern California Edison under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. Click here for more energy-saving tips and information.