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German Study Finds LED Lights More Efficient, Environmentally Friendly

Vivi Gorman
Posted on Monday 10th August 2009

A new German study looking at the life-cycle of light emitting diode (LED) lighting shows that LED lights are far more efficient and environmentally friendly than conventional incandescent lamps in terms of production, use and disposal.

The internal study was done in collaboration with experts at Siemens Corporate Technology Centre for Eco Innovations in Munich on lighting manufactured by Siemens’ lighting division, OSRAM GmbH. LED lamps are more than five times more efficient than incandescent lamps, OSRAM says. This is important, it says, because right now artificial lighting accounts for 19 percent of global electricity consumption.

Siemens said Aug. 4 that OSRAM Opto Semiconductors looked at energy consumption of lamps not just while in use but over the entire life cycle from production to transportation and use of an LED lamp and compared it with a compact fluorescent lamp and an incandescent lamp. The evaluation included an analysis of each individual production stage for LED chips and lamp housings as well as the transport of an LED lamp from its production site in China to its place of installation in Europe.

Less Energy Used

OSRAM’s researchers found that less than two percent of the energy associated with LED lamps is used in production; 98 percent of energy used goes toward generating light, they said. This finding demonstrates that production of LED lighting is not energy-intensive. They reported that incandescent lamps use approximately 3,300 kWh while LED lamps use less than 700 kWh.

“Conventional lamps with filaments are way behind diode lamps,” OSRAM says. A 40-Watt incandescent lamp can be replaced with an 8W compact fluorescent light or an 8W LED lamp, which means an energy saving of 80 percent, it said.

As the efficiency of LED continues to increase, OSRAM experts anticipate that LED lamps will be capable of achieving even better life-cycle analysis results in future. Following the initial results of the study, three independent experts will be verifying the findings and a summary of the study will be available in October.

The environmental impact analysis, OSRAM said, considered the raw materials, energy input, and emissions and made positive conclusions regarding resource consumption, acidification, eutrophication, the greenhouse effect, ozone depletion and toxicity.

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