We’ll have to wait
Another drawback is that present LED technology uses aluminum to absorb and dissipate the heat generated by the bulb. Mining, refining and processing aluminum is energy intensive and creates toxic by-products that must be disposed of in hazardous waste landfills, according to a September, 2012 report from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the United Kingdom’s N14 Energy Limited, an environmental consulting company specializing in energy efficiency and lighting.
The study, however, confirms that LEDs are the most environmentally friendly lighting source with even less environmental impact expected within the next five years as LED technology improves. The report states that, “soon, research and development is expected to further improve LED efficiencies, which in turn will reduce the amount of heat they produce.... The research team found that this, and other improvements in manufacturing processes and electronics, will lead LED bulbs to be even more environmentally friendly than CFLs within five years. The team expects the LED bulb of 2017 will have 50% less environmental impacts than today’s LED lamps and 70% less impacts that those found in today’s CFLs, which are not expected to change significantly in the near future.”
Let’s hope that in five years, we’ll be replacing our light bulbs yet again. Let’s hope the environment can wait that long.