Life Cycle Assessment study supports Sustainability

More and more public and B2B customers demand sustainability efforts. Reducing environmental impacts of products and services can offer a competitive advantage. To guide environmental decisions and demonstrate benefits to the market, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) provides an objective and globally accepted measuring framework. The French PACTE LED-study illustrates this.

Energy savings using LED

It is obvious that LED has much lower energy consumption during usage compared to conventional lighting technologies. This means that if all the 20W and 35W low-voltage halogen lamps in France were replaced by comparable LED lamps, the total annual energy savings would be between 0.95 and 1.16 TWh, a figure equivalent to the total annual electricity consumption of 135.000 people. This could potentially exceed targets of the French government to cut energy usage in France by a factor four.

However, an early substitution of halogen spots by retrofit LEDs is only justifiable, if the impacts from a life-cycle perspective are lower too. That means that beside energy efficiency also environmental impacts from production, material consumption and recycling need to be considered as well as functional differences, like life-time and light levels.

The PACTE LED project

For achieving an objective comparison, the French energy management agency (ADME) initiated the PACTE LED study with a Life Cycle Assessment as one of the most important deliverables. The project was coordinated by Ingelux Consultants and collaboratively conducted by Philips, several French research and technology institutes specialized in lighting and Accor Hotels.

Life Cycle Assessment

For the PACTE LED project, Philips Lighting preformed a detailed life-cycle assessment with strong support of LCA experts in Philips Engineering Solutions. The LCA could deliver firm evidence that above 380 hours the overall environmental balance becomes positive towards LEDs. Over the whole life-time of a LED-spot (40-45.000 hours), the total environmental benefit is even 4 to 5 times higher. Sensitivity analysis showed that the findings were robust.

According to ISO 14040/44 comparative assertions require a critical, preferably third party review.

Anton Brummelhuis, Senior Director Sustainability at Philips Lighting: “Since many years Philips performs LCAs. From those LCAs we derived the 6 Green Focal Areas for our products, which are completely integrated in our product creation process (EcoDesign 2.0). With the PACTE LED study we learned that the energy use during the usage phase for LED products continues to be the dominant (> 90%) contributor of the ecological footprint. Again Philips Innovation Services proved to be the professional and reliable partner for LCA as also the quality of the work was recognized by CSTB in their Peer Review”.

Sait Izmit, project leader at Philips Lighting: “We were already convinced of the functional benefits and savings in energy consumption of LEDs versus Halogen. Showing environmental benefits in a life-time perspective gave our business credibility and motivated our product developments further into a direction of sustainable development”.