The objective of life cycle assessments (LCA) is to analyze the environmental performance of products and, for LEDVANCE, to compare different lamp types regarding their total environmental impact throughout the entire life cycle. Therefore, the primary energy consumption of each product is calculated as the most important indicator. Furthermore, other impact on the environment are evaluated in specific categories.
The method for life cycle assessments is based on the international standards ISO 14040 and 14044. The standard ISO 14040 describes the principles and framework for the life cycle assessment whereas the standard ISO 14044 specifies requirements and provides guidelines for the individual phases of the LCA.
The relevant data for the life cycle analyses was either collected or taken from existing studies combined with LEDVANCE (former OSRAM data) sheets. Furthermore, process and raw materials data was extracted from the databases “GaBi” and “Umberto” whenever possible. These are databases specifically used for life cycle analyses.
A product life cycle consists of five different stages as depicted in the figure above. The results of an LCA allow for conclusions not only on the primary energy input but also on other environmental impacts such as the greenhouse effect, acidification, eutrophication, photochemical ozone depletion, human toxicity and resource consumption. The aim of analyzing the life cycle stages individually is to find out what impacts the lamps have during each stage, and how these rank in comparison to each other.
The data of this life-cycle stage usually involves the extraction of natural resources, transport to the processing sites and refining to usable materials. All materials are carefully chosen to fulfil technical requirements in order to optimize both, production processes and the finished product.
This stage covers the energy, materials and suppliers required for the production processes and assembly of a lamp at the LEDVANCE (former OSRAM) factory. In addition, the packaging materials of supplier products and the recycling or disposal of resulting waste was considered in the LCA study.
This stage encompasses all transportation processes within the manufacturing phase, including the transport of the final product to the customer. However, in some analyses, transport may represent such a small impact that it is simply included in other stages.
The use stage is the phase during which the product is used for its intended purpose. For LEDVANCE lighting products, it is modelled simply as using energy and giving light. Thus, for LEDVANCE products it is the most influential life cycle stage as it requires more than 95 percent of the primary energy over the entire life cycle. A possible positive 'heating' effect of the lamp is balanced out by the fact that in warmer climates this heat must be removed from a building by air conditioning. The emissions from the use phase result only from electricity production.
The end-of-life stage includes recycling and/or incineration of the materials of the lamps. For LEDVANCE products, this stage is virtually insignificant, especially as energy used for recycling usually balances against energy saved from not having to produce the recycled material from scratch.
As already outlined above, the use phase is responsible for more than 98 percent of the energy consumption and thus has the greatest environmental impact. With less than 2 percent, all other stages have a comparatively minor impact. Hence, on the following pages these are summarized under 'manufacturing'.
Primary energy is the energy embodied in natural resources like coal, oil or sunlight that has not yet undergone any anthropogenic transformation. The primary energy demand, also Cumulated Energy Demand (CED), summarizes the energy needed for the different stages of the life cycle. The use of primary energy can be measured in mega joule (MJ) or kilowatt-hours (kWh). Due to conversion and transmission losses, approximately 3.3 kWh or 11.84 MJ of primary energy are needed to produce 1 kWh of electricity, concerning the European average electricity mix.
In order to assess the environmental influence of LEDVANCE products, several environmental impact categories, addressing impacts on air, soil and resources, may be chosen for life cycle analyses.