Glistening, festive decorations can bring joy to your customers and employees during the holiday season. But those sparkles also can drive up energy use and potentially pose safety risks.

As businesses, schools and organizations start putting up ornaments and lights for the holidays, it’s important to take steps to stay safe and conserve energy.

“Holiday lighting and decorations can be a great way to draw attention to your business during the busy season. But workplaces should be careful when choosing their design,” said Jessica Berry, Supervisor of Energy Programs.

Here are five tips to bring holiday cheer to your workplace:

1. Check the Wires

Before stringing lights around windows, cubicles and ceiling tiles, check the bulbs, wires and plugs for signs of fraying. If you put up a natural tree at work, make sure the bristles don’t get too dry and cause a fire hazard.

Also, make sure those extension cords don’t cause trip or fall hazards across floors or doorways. Instead, tape them down securely. And never run them under rugs or carpeting.

2. Use LED Lights

ENERGY STAR® certified LED strand lights and spotlights use 75 percent less energy than conventional strings, bringing big savings. Plus, they last 10 times longer than traditional strands – helping your business meet the bottom line. They’re also more durable and shock resistant.

“Even though LEDs are more expensive at first, businesses will save in the long run by investing in energy-efficient lighting,” Berry said.

Find more decorative lighting tips from ENERGY STAR.

3. Outdoor Decorations

When stringing exterior lights to entice customers and bring attention to your business, check the label to make sure they’re rated for outdoor use. While safety-rated lights and extension cords are meant to withstand a little rain, even they shouldn’t sit in standing water.

4. Set a Timer

Enjoy flickers and twinkles during working hours or times when customers and employees may pass by. Save energy when it’s time to go home or overnight when the decorations won’t get much attention. Set a timer or buy smart power strips to control the lights as needed. Deflate any decorations when not in use.

5. Get Creative with Lighting

Strings aren’t the only way to add shimmer. Try positioning bulbs near shiny ornaments, decorations or a strategic mirror to add reflections and disperse color and light. Use battery-powered candles and shelf decorations.

Laser light projectors have become increasingly popular and inexpensive in recent years. The easy-to-install devices can display thousands of moving lights and images, while being energy efficient.

Outside, be sure to position your projector so that it is not a trip hazard and make sure beams aren’t directed into the air, where they could interfere with aircraft pilots’ vision, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

For year-round strategies to save energy, check our business energy saving tips.

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