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Green light for LED2 lighting

A study of the environmental impact of use of LED2 lighting by shipping and in traffic control systems

At the request of the Energy Conservation Programme Office of the Netherlands’ Direc-torate-General for Public Works & Water Manage¬ment (Rijkswaterstaat), CE Delft has looked into the benefits of using LED2 lamps rather than incandescent lamps for traffic lights and ship’s signalling lights. For an honest comparison of the environmental im-pact of these lamps, it is not only the use phase that needs to be analysed, but the en-tire life cycle, i.e. raw materials extraction, production, use and ultimate waste disposal. Taken over a 10 year lifetime, the LED2 lamp scores better than the incandescent lamp on all the environmental themes considered. Although in the raw materials phase a LED2 lamp has a greater environmental impact than an incandescent lamp (due to the circuit board in the former), in the use phase this is more than compensated for. The life cycle environmental impact of an LED2 lamp is thus smaller than that of an incan-descent lamp. The analysis indicates that, based on the available information, it can be concluded that the savings in the use phase more than offset the slightly greater envi-ronmental impact arising in the production chains of the ABS, PC and circuit board. Regardless of its environmental benefits, a LED2 lamp also provides better visibility, greater reliability and a longer lifetime, thus reducing maintenance costs. Based on these results, it is environmentally preferable to use LED2 lamps rather than incandescent lamps (including krypton and halogen units).


Harry Croezen

Delft, December 2007


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