One of Surrey’s festive homes boasts a Christmas display featuring thousands of lights. (Submitted photo)

‘Mega’ holiday home displays using up more power: report

Lights, inflatables and other electronic displays have increased B.C.’s power load by 15% since 2012

We’ve been using more and more electricity to decorate our homes for the holidays.

That’s according to a new study from BC Hydro, which said Friday that electronic displays and lights have caused a 15-per-cent uptick in the province’s power load since 2012.

The year before, the outdoor lighting load had dropped about 40 per cent because of the the mass adoption of LEDs, which use 90 per cent less power.

Since then, BC Hydro said, electricity use is up because of people’s increasingly zealous efforts to festoon their homes with everything from the classic light strands to inflatable Santas and reindeer.

One in three British Columbians say they have a neighbour who puts up a “mega display,” the study said.

Another nearly 60 per cent said they themselves put up some form of outdoor holiday lights, with the average homeowner hanging three strands of bulbs.

READ MORE: Deck the halls, not your head: How to safely use a ladder

Inflatable holiday decorations use a lot more power than a strand of LED bulbs, BC Hydro added. Four per cent of respondents said they install more than 750 lights each year, climbing beyond 100,000 lights for the biggest displays.

Fifteen per cent admitted to blowing a breaker switch from overdoing it.

Much of the cost comes from one-third of displays still using older, inefficient incandescent lights – increasing their energy costs and consumption.

Clark Griswold’s infamously radiant home in the film National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation would have cost him around $4,700 in energy using incandescent lights, BC Hydro said. Had he used LEDs, it would have only cost him $50.


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