LEDs Use 4x Less Energy than Incandescents

U.S. Department of Energy study tracks the energy consumption required to manufacturer LEDs, as well as their energy usage vs. CFLs and incandescents.

Jason Knott · October 19, 2012

LEDs not only consume less energy while in use, they are also more energy efficient to make than their incandescent and CFL predecessors, resulting in four times less overall energy consumption.

That’s the conclusion by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory that released a new report, “Life-Cycle Assessment of Energy and Environmental Impacts of LED Lighting Products.”

The report has two parts: First, it compares the energy consumption of an LED vs. an incandescent (60W) and compact fluorescent. Secondly, it measures the energy to manufacture an LED bulb.

Related: LEDs Will Eliminate All Other Lamp Sources in 6 Years

The report claims to be the first ever to track not just the energy usage, but also the natural resources used for the production, shipping, operation, and disposal of LEDs. The report examines 15 criteria, such as global warming, waste and factory pollution to air, soil and water.

According to the report, the typical LED uses 3,900 megajoules (MJ) over the average lifespan of 20 million lumen-hours, which is comparable to a CFL. However, an incandescent uses nearly four times more energy - 15,100 MJ per 20 million lumen-hours.

The study says one of the biggest energy wastes in LEDs is the type of display packaging used by the manufacturer.

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  About the Author

Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald Expositions Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at

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