New Study: LED Lamps Save Energy!


As first reported by the New York Times recently, a new life cycle assessment of illuminants conducted by Osram, a German lighting company, provides support for the belief that LEDs are more efficient than incandescent bulbs.  In fact, over the entire life of the bulb, from manufacturing to recycling, incandescent bulbs use approximately five times more energy than compact fluorescents and LED lamps.

The life cycle assessment was conducted using three Osram lamp types: a 40 W incandescent, an 8 W CFL, and an 8 W LED lamp.  Although the study was specific to Osram products, the company believes it supports the statement that LEDs are among the most environmentally friendly lighting products available.

More specifically, the life cycle assessment revealed the following:

  • LED lamps are competitive to CFLs today;
  • Future improvements of LED lamps will further cut down on energy demand; and
  • Less than 2% of total energy demand is needed for LED lamp production.

The study also kills the argument that LEDs are somehow not “green” because of the energy intensity of producing the lamps.  Such is not the case.

Of note, in the U.S., lighting accounts for roughly 11% of all residential energy use and 26% of all commercial energy use.  It’s not an insignificant aspect of the nation’s energy pie.  So having information from a life cycle analysis like this will help in actually reducing the amount of lighting energy used.

[+] LED Bulbs Save Substantial Energy by NY Times.
[+] Executive Summary: Life Cycle Assessment of Illuminants (PDF).

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  • Milieunet

    Yep, finally OSRAM is presenting something on LED bulbs, but just a little bit strange the LCA gives almost the same result for LED and CFL.

    Forgot Mercury in CFL i guess. A broken CFL is Toxic Waste.

  • gerrr!

    No, no, no. That is NOT what the study says.

    What the study identifies, is that OSRAM Parathom Classic A LED bulb running at 8W, in comparison to OSRAM Dulux Superstar CFL running at 8W, in comparison to OSRAM Incandescent Classic A running at 40W, is more efficient and has a lower LCA than either their CFL or their Incandescent light bulbs. It does not measure any of their other LED bulbs, and it also conveniently excludes their Halogen Energy Saver Classic A bulbs which are 30% more efficient and last twice as long, according to their own literature.

    Take any other manufacturer besides OSRAM whose LED plants are not nearly as careful and efficient in usage of water, toxic chemicals and energy, and the assessment goes out the window. You have to also consider the type of LED used, of which there are several manufacturers with completely different styles of bulbs and efficiencies.

    Without a doubt, there is a huge operational benefit to a 25,000 lifespan, but here too, we’re not told what the quality of light or the number of lumens towards that end of life. While the bulb may last for 25,000 hours, will you end up replacing it much earlier, because the quality of light has been dramatically reduced?

    I myself, look forward to the day that LEDs replace incandescents and fluorescents (because of the mercury content), especially as they tune the light to CRI values extremely close to sunlight. But I think it’s a bit disingenuous to say that LEDs are competitive with CFLs; one trip to Home Depot dispels that notion. A four-pack of 9W CFLs costs $6, while a single 6W LED globe is $40.

  • Portland Condo Auctions

    This study is a bit late, there already have been several more that found the same thing. Personally, I just got done switching the whole house to CFL lighting before the LEDs were affordable and popular enough. So, I will have to wait for the CFLs to die before I will go out and reinvest again.


  • spunkweed

    A ‘study’ commissioned by a company to produce results which show their products in a favourable light is marketing, not research.

  • GreenbuildinginDenverdotcom

    LED lighting is the future, and the future is already here.
    Even the latest generation of CFLs suck:
    A. The light quality is inferior to LED and incandescent.
    B. They need time to warm up even from room temp.
    C. Usually not dimmable. LED’s still have this problem too.

    Sam’s Club has recently narrowed the huge cost advantage of CFLs over LEDs. So, while the first cost of LED lighting for an entire small home is about many times that of CFL’s, it’s affordable at $200 total.

  • Anonymous

    Thought this was an ironic headline at first. Reminds us of the recent headlines declaring that global warming is indeed caused by human activity!

  • Anonymous

    I looked along time before getting an LED lamp the only one that produced enough lumens was the EcoLight by IMG Lighting. 600 lumens! vs 420 for Brazo, 240 lumens for Koncept.

  • David

    How much energy can it save compared to ordinary light? LED light is becoming more and more common and even treated as art nowadays. I’d love to see it’s both energy saving and cool in outlook. take a look at this one:

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