Santa Barbara County is working to save energy this holiday season, one string of Christmas lights at a time.

The South County Energy Efficiency Partnership is encouraging residents of Isla Vista, Goleta, Santa Barbara and Carpinteria to go green by giving away free stings of light emitting-diode Christmas lights in exchange for used conventional sets. With a grant from Southern California Edison, South Coast Energy Efficiency Partnership will trade old, inefficient incandescent lights for energy-efficient LED lights from now until Dec. 20, or as long as supplies last.

According to Kirsten Deshler, Public Information Officer with the city of Goleta, LED lights are more environmentally friendly than traditional Christmas lights.

“The traditional incandescent lights don’t last as long and use a lot of energy,” Deshler said. “The LED ones use up to 90 percent less energy. They are an overall better environmental choice.”

Two strings of LED Christmas lights use the same amount of energy as one bulb on a traditional string and the LEDs last must longer, according to Deshler.

“If you buy one box of LEDs as a freshman, you will have them through grad school, whereas an incandescent string you’ll have to replace them every year,” Deshler said.

SCEEP claims that LED lights can last up to 10 times as long as traditional lights and help prevent the risk of fire because they are cool to the touch.

Jim Dewey, the facilities manager for the city of Santa Barbara, said that another benefit of the program is that it exposes people to new green technologies.

“We want to make people aware of the emerging technology,” Dewey said. “It’s not like a single strand makes a huge difference, but it’s a lot more efficient and safer than the incandescent ones.”

The closest location for Isla Vista residents is at the Goleta city hall. The program is funded through the California public utilities commission through fees paid for by Edison customers.