News Brief

LEDs Have Lower Impact Than CFLs Over Lifetime

Image: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and N14 Energy Limited
Life-cycle assessment shows LED lamps slightly outperform compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) on environmental impacts related to their manufacturing, transport, and use. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released the second of three reports in its “Life-Cycle Assessment of Energy and Environmental Impacts of LED Lighting Products,” which compares the impacts of an incandescent lamp, a CFL, a 2012 Philips EnduraLED, and a hypothetical 2017 LED based on projected improvements in technology.

In the course of 20 million lumen-hours of light service—roughly equivalent to the lifetime output of one Philips EnduraLED, three CFLs, or 22 incandescent lamps—LED lamps perform far better than incandescent lighting and better than CFLs on most measures. While energy consumed in use constitutes the majority of the impact for all of these products, the 2012 LEDs were found to contribute slightly more to landfills due to manufacturing waste and issues with disposal of their large aluminum heat sinks. The authors recommend that DOE work with manufacturers to reduce the size of those heat sinks and explore alternative materials.

Part 3 of the report will examine the impacts of LED disposal.




Published July 30, 2012

Weaver, E. (2012, July 30). LEDs Have Lower Impact Than CFLs Over Lifetime. Retrieved from

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