The life cycle review of LED


The time is ripe for a life cycle review of LED, say Associate Professors Thomas Lindhqvist & Mikael Backman.

Two researchers at Lund University have just launched a new project where they hope to confirm or dismiss some of the biggest concerns and speculations surrounding the LED-manufacturing industry. They hope their findings can make commissioners of LED-technology look at the investment from a different and more holistic viewpoint.

 As an important part of Lighting Metropolis’ mission – to make Greater Copenhagen the world’s leading testbed for new lighting technology – Lund University will provide an overview of the industry’s current standards, in terms of their products’ sustainability and life cycle. The results and subsequent guidelines will be able to directly guide commissioners when investing in new products, and thereby creating a paradigm shift in a procurement process that rarely look at the whole picture.

 We put some questions to Associate Professors Mikael Backman and Thomas Lindhqvist at the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE), Lund University.

 The LED manufacturing is surrounded by a lot of speculations and concerns, regarding the sustainability of its products; what are some of those that you hope to confirm, or dismiss?

 “The speculations and concerns often founded on a lack of knowledge. It’s about the how the rare earth metals are extracted, under what conditions reprocessing and production of fixtures take place, if the LEDs – despite a shorter shelf life than its fixtures – can be effectively utilised, how alterations in the colour and spread of the light affect its energy consumption, if the value of the by-products is high enough to allow for an economically viable recycling.

 Who will have a vested interest in your report?

”Both public and private operators ready to invest in new LED-solutions will probably feel some concern about the lack of knowledge on sustainability aspects during the life cycle, and the limiting demands when commissioning this leads to.”

When will you be able to present your findings from your international assessment of published papers?

“The results from our research will be presented at a half day seminar on December 15, in Lund.”  

(Please contact the faculty for further information on this event)

Once presented, what will be the next step?

Our findings will subsequently be incorporated into recommendations, guidelines and checklists for commissioners, during 2017.”



The IIIEE is an international and multidisciplinary institute at Lund University with the overall ambition to advance and apply knowledge in policy and strategy for sustainable solutions.


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