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Volume 15, Issue 50 ~ December 13 - December 19, 2007


Silent Night and LED Light

Last week in Bay Weekly, you read a letter to the editor from an S. Claus requesting assistance in doing his job.

The North Pole is melting from global warming, he wrote, and part of the problem is all that Christmas wrap that we waste takes trees to make.

Santa asked kids to collect old Christmas paper for him, or make him new wrappings from packing paper.

Instead of a reindeer footprint, we’re talking now about our carbon footprint.

As you can see from Bay Weekly, we’re so deep into the holiday spirit that you can almost hear the bells jingle when you turn the page. (Open up, and you hear carols.)

Without sacrificing any of that spirit, we like to report on ways to have an easier and greener Christmas.

Over the years, we’ve suggested ways to bypass mall frenzy, credit-card debt and Chinese-made junk-gifts. (This year, we especially recommend avoiding lead-filled Chinese toys.)

Feel free to consult our 68-page Winter ’07 Local Bounty for tips on local services and locally made products along with the biggest holiday calendar you’ll find anywhere in Chesapeake Country.

This week’s issue is all about traditions. You’ll read about the many traditions that brighten the holidays for the diverse Bay Weekly family. Stringing up lights, a favorite tradition in these darkest days of the year, has kept us busy as elves on ladders. We love sharing in the illumination of Chesapeake Country.

So we’re glad for staff writer Carrie Madren’s wise suggestions on saving money — and energy — with Christmas lights.

If you’re like us, you’ve rummaged through the basement to pull out aging strands of incandescent lights for your trees, bushes and windows. (Did you pop a few like we did? Find that one bum bulb keeping the whole string dark? We didn’t.)

As Carrie notes, we’ve been using essentially the same light-bulb technology favored by Thomas Edison in the 19th century. It’s inefficient lighting — and very costly.

Nowadays, there’s a new kind of light bulb finding favor across the country: LED, for light emitting diode.

LED has been around since the 1960s, but it is finding favor now because it uses just a fraction of the electricity consumed by, shall we say, old-fashioned bulbs. If you, too, have experienced the electric-bill shock that Michelle Steel wrote about in our pages two weeks ago, you’ll welcome LED lights as money-savers — in their burning and in their longevity.

What Santa likes best, however, is that when we buy less electricity, less electricity needs to be generated.

Read on in Bay Weekly, and you’ll learn from EarthTalk that switching all our household and business lights from incandescent to florescent could make an astonishing 80 U.S. coal-fired power plants obsolete.

Buy the right bulbs, and you’ll give Mr. Claus plenty of illumination for his December 24 late-night visit — and fewer worries about the meltdown of the North Pole.

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© COPYRIGHT 2007 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.