Solid-state lighting advocates have been quick to promote the energy-efficient performance of LEDs, but have done so based more on intuition than reported findings. However, with the release of Osram Opto Semiconductors' November 2009 report, "Life Cycle Assessment of Illuminants: A Comparison of Light Bulbs, Compact Fluorescent Lamps and LED Lamps," there is now data to confirm that hunch. "Life Cycle Assessment of Illuminants" finds that, from "cradle to grave," LED lamps do indeed deliver on energy efficiency.

The report studied the production and use of LED lamps and evaluates their environmental impact throughout all of the stages of lifecycle analysis-raw material production, manufacturing and assembly, transport, use, and end of life-and compares these results with those of an incandescent lamp and a compact fluorescent lamp (CFL). For the specific purposes of the study, an 8W Parathom LED lamp was tested against a 40W incandescent general service lamp and an 8W CFL Dulux Superstar. All three of these lamps are part of Osram's available lamp offerings.

The study arrived at three main conclusions:

  • Expenditure of energy to produce an LED lamp is negligible-less than 2 percent. This dispels criticism that the manufacture of LED lamps expends more energy than is saved by the lamp's lower active light output.
  • LED lamps are competitive with CFLs. Testing found that incandescent lamps consume approximately 3,302 kilowatt-hours, whereas CFLs and LED lamps each use less than 670 kilowatt-hours per hour over the course of their life. This translates to an energy savings of 80 percent.
  • Future improvements of LED lamps will further reduce energy demand. As LED efficiency increases and higher lumens-per-watt levels are achieved, this savings will transfer to all aspects of the LED lamp and luminaire assembly.To ensure that the evaluation of the three light sources was fair, the test looked at the manu­facture, packaging, and shipping of the lamps in Asia and Europe and intended for sale in Germany. The researchers also took into consideration primary energy demand and global warming indexes. How the lighting industry utilizes this report is to be seen, as individuals will still make their own assessments when it comes to specifying LEDs.
  • Under Eftekhar's leadership, Philips Lightolier has evolved to reflect the needs of its customers. By introducing new business services such as the Energy Services Group, and meaningful technological innovations that reflect the demand for energy efficient lighting, Eftekhar has continued to keep Lightolier at the forefront of professional lighting solutions. It is a challenge he now welcomes on a larger scale.