Life Cycle Assessment of Illuminants - A Comparison of Light Bulbs, Compact Fluorescent Lamps and LED Lamps

Posted by markusbeck
Contact: 
Prof. Matthias Finkbeiner, TU Berlin, Germany (Chair), Associate Professor Stig Olsen, Danmarks Tekniske Universitet Copenhagen (LCA methodology), Prof. Jens Hesselbach, Limón GmbH (energy expertise, LCA methodology).
Type: 
Full LCA available on the web
Comparative: 
yes
Publication year: 
2009
Language: 
English
Code: 
Lights
Product: 
LED Lamps (OSRAM) Parathom A55 with Golden Dragon LEDs
Quality and sources
Is the study a: 
Detailed LCA
Was a critical review performed?: 
Yes
Is the study compliant with ISO 14044?: 
Yes
Sponsor name(s): 
Siemens Corporate Technology, Center for Eco Innovations, OSRAM
Sponsor name(s): 
OSRAM Opto Semiconductors
Sponsor type: 
Company
Practitioner(s): 
Siemens Corporate Technology, Center for Eco Innovations, OSRAM
Practitioner(s): 
OSRAM Opto Semiconductors
Practitioner(s) type: 
Company
Summary
Functional unit: 
Life Cycle Assessment of Illuminants (Light-emitting diode lamps)
Goal and scope of the summary: 
The overall Goal was to investigate what environmental impact lamps of three categories (incandescent lamps, compact fluorescent lamp and light-emitting diode lamp) have over their entire life cycle and how they rank in comparison to each other. The life cycle was broken down in (1) Raw material production, (2) manufacturing & Assembly, (3) Transport, (4) Use and (5) End of Life, whereas the results lead to conclusions mainly on resource consumption and primary energy input. In addition to the primary energy demand as key performance indicator, six environmental impact categories were applied to assess their impact on air, soil and resources including acidification potential, eutrophication potential, global warming potential, photochemical ozone creation potential, human toxicity potential and abiotic depletion potential. To ensure the comparability of the three different lamp types, a lifetime of 25,000 hours and a light output between 345 and 420 lumen during their whole lifetime were taken as a reference parameter. The location of use phase as well as the end of life was determined to be in Europe. The assessment was carried out in compliance with ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 and was critical reviewed by an independent review panel.

For the Light emitting diode (LED) lamps, less than 2% of the total energy demand is needed for their production. 

LED lamps demonstrate nearly identical impacts on the environment as fluorescent lamps (CFL), whereas both types save up to 80% of energy in comparison with a conventional light bulb. 

Since the efficiency of LEDs continue to increase, future energy savings and less environmental impact as well as better LCA results will be expected. 
According to the Life Cycle Assessment of Illuminants,  LED lamps are among the most environmentally friendly lighting products. 

Material impact(s): 
Acidification
Global warming
Abiotic ressources depletion
Eutrophication
Toxicity / Eco-toxicity
Raw material impact level: 
Medium
Manufacturing impact(s): 
Acidification
Global warming
Manufacturing impact level: 
Medium
Shipping impact(s): 
Global warming
Eutrophication
Shipping impact level: 
Low
Usage impact(s): 
Acidification
Global warming
Eutrophication
Usage impact level: 
Low
End of life impact(s): 
Waste generation
End of life impact level: 
Low


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