The introduction of LED microscope lighting in 2006 revolutionised many aspects of microscopy – including sustainability.

Scientists now have a high-performance and sustainable alternative to toxic mercury-based lamps and energy-hungry halogen lighting.
Alongside initiatives such as the My Green Lab ACT Label Certification and a product Take-Back scheme, this helps organisations reach their Scope 3 goals on the journey towards net zero carbon emissions.

Scope 3 emissions are all indirect emissions that occur in the value chain of the reporting company, including both upstream and downstream emissions.

Reduced energy consumption with LEDs

An independent comparison study of a CoolLED Illumination System and a traditional mercury bulb was carried out by Andy Evans of Green Light Laboratories. This mercury versus LED study found that:

  • A mercury lamp consumed more than 10 times more energy over 25,000 hours of use compared to a CoolLED pE-300ultra, with a potential saving of £30,000.
  • Conventional mercury-based microscope illuminators such as mercury and metal halide bulbs require a warm up period before use and a cool down period after switch off before they can be safely used again.
  • LED illuminators for microscopes switch on/off instantly and only draw power when illumination is required.
  • Many laboratories leave their mercury based illuminators switched on all day to ensure its availability when required, yet LED microscope lighting can be powered up in no time at all.

No More Mercury

  • Mercury in the environment gradually accumulates in tissue as it passes through the food chain, damaging wildlife populations.
  • Due to its harm to people and the environment, the use and disposal of mercury is subject to legislation in many countries.
  • It also poses a significant health and safety risk to humans, and offers another reason to adopt LED microscope lighting for fluorescence microscopy.
  • Mercury is a component of metal halide microscopy illumination, and the Minamata convention, which is an agreement to address widespread mercury pollution, has now been adopted by 131 countries, with increasing pressure from the United Nations to ban mercury-based lamps. For more information, see:  United Nations Environmental Programme (2017). Minamata Convention on Mercury. Available at: (downloaded 09 June 2021)
  • Further information can be found here.

No More Halogen

In 2021, the UK government announced that the sale of halogen bulbs for household use will be banned from September to cut a predicted 1.26 million tonnes of CO2 – the equivalent of removing over half a million cars from UK roads.

How might this impact microscopy illumination?

  • Old and inefficient lighting is being phased out and replaced with efficient and longer-lasting LEDs.
  • We predict an even greater number of labs shifting to LED microscope lighting for both fluorescence and transmitted illumination.

What’s the alternative?

  • The LED technology to replace halogen bulbs for microscopy illumination is already well established.
  • Colour temperature remains constant as irradiance is increased/decreased which makes colour balancing unnecessary and improves standardisation between sessions.
  • Reduction in harmful UV exposure to the eyes, which is ideal for long hours at the microscope.
  • Convenient operation (instant on/off, 0-100% irradiance control, high-speed TTL triggering).
  • Energy efficiency and longer lifetime is not only great for the environment but saves money.

Supporting Global Reforestation

In addition to these environmental benefits, we encourage everyone who purchases a CoolLED Illumination System to register their product.
As and when they do, we make a monetary donation to the World Land Trust for global reforestation.

For every donation we make, we then add a tree to the CoolLED Virtual Forest as a visual representation of the efforts being made worldwide.
Since we began our tree-planting scheme in May 2022, we have made 62 donations to the World Land Trust.

The CoolLED Forest FINAL as of Jan 24

We are wholly committed to achieving our Sustainable Development Goals and have given ourselves measurable targets to aim for in the future.
To find out more about these aims, please click the button below.