LED Lighting - Sustainability

LED Lighting Reducing Energy Consumption

LED Lighting - Parking Lot Fixtures

LED Lighting has the promise to reduced energy consumption, and save energy. An open question in terms of total life cycle costs is how LED fixtures compare to older incandescent lamps, or compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) in terms of total environmental impact. The DOE (Department of Energy) has just published the last of a series of reports on the impact of LED lamps and LED fixtures across an entire product lifecycle. The DOE reports demonstrate that LED Lamps for residential use, consume substantially less energy, have low manufacturing impact, and are similar to cell phones in terms of recycling costs.

Commercial LED Lighting and Sustainability

Metro LED Lighting’s products are commercial fixtures, for parking garage lighting, flood lighting, parking lot lighting, and other general outdoor lighting uses. These fixtures are in general more efficient than those lamps listed, and have longer operating lives. Thus, a commercial lighting installation would have higher benefits than those listed in the reports, with lower energy bills, and longer fixture life for the LED lighting.

LED Lamps – DOE Lifecycle Analysis of Sustainability

In the three DOE reports on LED Lighting, the major findings included:

  • The use phase of incandescent lamps, CFL, and LED lamps are the most energy-intensive, accounting for 90% of the total life-cycle energy associated with a product. This is followed by manufacturing and transport phases. Transportation energy use is less than 1% of life-cycle energy use.
  • The LED engine or package manufacturing is about 6.6% of the total life-cycle energy costs.
  • The majority of energy used after creating an LED light engine is consumed by the manufacturing of the aluminum heat sinks. As efficiencies increase and more energy is converted to useful light, the size of these heat sinks will improve reducing this effect. Also aluminum is readily recycled, at lower energy costs than virgin material, also lowering the impact.
  • After comparing all the elements in a LED fixture to traditional incandescent and CFL lamps, the end of life impacts were found to be lower, and roughly comparable in concentration to recycling a cell phone.

In general, by replacing traditional incandescent or CFL sources with LED lighting results in significant reduction in environmental impacts. Reduction of environmental impact on the order of 3 to 10 times is possible by adopting LED lighting sources, which are more efficient.

LED Lighting – DOE Sustainability and Environmental Testing Reports

The three-part DOE study assessing the life-cycle environmental and resource costs of LED lighting covering the manufacturing, transport, use, and disposal products can be found here:

Part 1: Review of the Life-Cycle Energy Consumption of Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent (CFL), and LED Lamps (54 pages, February 2012—Updated August 2012)

Part 2: LED Manufacturing and Performance (79 pages, June 2012)

Part 3: LED Environmental Testing (212 pages, March 2013).

General lighting market characterization studies and technical reports published by the U.S. Department of Energy.

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