AUBURN – Thousands of LED lights adorn the Christmas displays outside Tom and Connie Robinson’s Auburn home.

The energy-efficient lights are on a Christmas tree that holds 900 lights, a homemade Ferris wheel, a helicopter, two lamp posts and a decorated garage door, all in a variety of colors.

The Robinsons say the light-emitting diodes are brighter and safer than conventional lights, and they plan to eventually replace all of their old bulbs with energy-efficient ones.

“They’re fantastic and beautiful,” Connie Robinson said.

She and her husband are among a growing number of local people who prefer LEDs, which are made with tiny, low-powered chips similar to those used in computers. The bulbs are unbreakable and do not get hot, use less electricity and last longer than traditional bulbs.

According to, a whole string of LED lights uses less electricity than one conventional bulb and lasts 10 times longer.

LED lights are more expensive, ranging from $7 to $10 per string, depending on the size of the bulb. Conventional lights range from about $2 per string to about $8.

Representatives at local Wal-Mart, K-mart, Rite-Aid and JCPenney stores said people preferred the LED lights and were buying them in large quantities. LED lights are the only kind of Christmas lights that JCPenney carries.

Gov. John Baldacci this week issued a statement urging Mainers to use energy-efficient lights. He and first lady Karen Baldacci have used them to decorate their Christmas tree outside the Blaine House for four straight years.

The governor and first lady are happy with the performance of the lights, and hope that all Maine families consider doing what they can to save on energy costs, Baldacci spokeswoman Joy Leach said.

“The governor and first lady want to lead by example,” Leach said. “It’s important to save on energy any way we can.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.