With the gloom of the COVID-19 pandemic hanging over the holidays this year, it seems more British Columbians are turning to elaborate lights and displays to lift their spirits.
A B.C. Hydro report Tuesday titled “Home for the holidays: British Columbians are brightening up the holidays with bigger, more elaborate lighting displays,” finds 90 per cent of British Columbians say they are planning more elaborate lighting displays at home.
The survey found about 20 per cent of respondents are planning to add more indoor and outdoor decorations.
And, in a nod to the classic film National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase, B.C. Hydro says there are expected to be more ‘Clark Griswold-style’ mega displays than in other years. The poll found nearly 10 per cent they are going to put up more than 10 strands of lights.
B.C. Hydro data shows these elaborate displays account for about three per cent of provincial electricity use, but that number is expected to rise this year.
Some of the poll’s other findings include about 22 per cent plan to put up eight strands of lights on average, up nearly 10 per cent since 2018, according to B.C. Hydro.
Fifteen per cent of holiday decorators plan to put up three or more displays, while about five per cent plan to put up between six and 15.
B.C. Hydro says there are concerns for energy use during this time, especially since 25 per cent say they still use some incandescent lights to decorate. The older bulbs are up to 90 per cent less energy efficient than LEDs, according to B.C. Hydro.
British Columbians are also leaving their decorations on for longer time period, with more than 40 per cent admitting they will have their lights on for more than eight hours a day.
B.C. Hydro recommends switching to LEDs, plugging into timers or using smart plugs to manage electricity use, and using the MyHydro app to track usage.
The survey of 800 British Columbians was conducted online by Majid Khoury through Ipsos Reid on Nov. 16 and Nov. 19, 2020. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Meantime Tuesday, British Columbians are being urged to recycle their old lights and replace them with energy efficient products.
Product Care Recycling has a website where consumers can find their nearest location to recycle burnt out bulb and strings of lights.
Last year, more than 11.5 million light bulbs were diverted from landfills in B.C., according Product Care.
The organization says once holiday lights are dropped off at a recycling location, they are transported to authorized recyclers for processing in Canada where they’re separated into component parts so the materials can be repurposed into new products.