Hint: Thomas Edison isn’t taking home the gold in this one.

A new DOE report finds that LED lamps have a significantly lower impact on the environment than incandescents and a slight edge over compact fluorescents (CFL). Score one for the diodes.

The report studied the three sources from the beginning to end of their life cycles comparing manufacturing, operation, and disposal. This study, which is the most in depth of it’s kind for LEDs, went beyond just analyzing energy and took into account the environmental impact of manufacturing, assembly, transportation, operation and disposal.

So what makes the LED Mother Nature’s newest BFF? Here’s some of what the completed study (Parts 1 & 2) found:

1. When measuring electricity consumption over an equivalent period of time the incandescent lamp is far greater than either the CFL or LED–a dominant contributor to the environmental impacts

2. The incandescent has the lowest efficacy, making it the most environmentally harmful

3. The CFL is slightly more harmful than today’s LEDs on all impact measures except one…hazardous waste landfill. The LEDs large aluminum heat sink causes a greater impact because of the energy and resources consumed in manufacturing it. This produces significant waste disposed in landfills.

Although today’s LEDs may be slightly lagging behind CFLs in hazardous waste, part of the DOE study also projected the evolution of LEDs (anticipated improvements in LED manufacturing, performance and driver electronics) and predicted that the LED of 2017 will correct this issue and be far lower than CFLs and today’s current LEDs.So what’s the most important thing to take away from this study? It’s not this slight difference in CFLs and LEDs, but rather the highly significant reduction in environmental impact that results from replacing an incandescent lamp today. Have questions/comments? Leave us one below or email us directly. To read the full report, click here
Jacy Everett
Director of Business Development
(800) 544-4836