***UPDATE*** I got a response from Gaiam and these lights are, indeed, LED lights, which means they will last for many years.
And now the original posting:
Here’s what I’ve been looking for: Solar-powered holiday lights.
There are certain luxuries that, to me, don’t justify burning fossil fuels: landscape lighting, garden fountains and Christmas lights. The first two I’ve solved with solar power, and the third issue could soon be a non-issue thanks to this offering from Gaiam, which I found on BlinkDecor.com.
Here’s how it works: During the day, the sun charges up a battery via a solar cell. Then, when night falls, a sensor turns on your lights, and it turns them off at dawn. If you don’t want the lights on all night, unplug the lights from the cell.
A couple of issues occur to me. How long will these lights last? So many holiday lights fail before the first season is done. So, off to the landfill. (I e-mailed Gaiam’s customer service to inquire about this, but they didn’t have much to say about it.) And these lights cost $89 plus shipping for a 42-foot length, either red or white. And of course, they’re made in China, and probably came across the seas in a cargo container that we’re still trying to figure out how to get rid of.
I do like the way Gaiam explains the history of wintertime lights:
The tradition of illuminating the home during the holidays dates back to the dark ages when yule logs and winter solstice candles would be lit to summon back a fading sun. Our Solar Holiday Lights turn that custom on its head by using the sun itself to provide their power!
What do you think? Are these light really "sustainable?"