Love the Light, but respect the night
Love the Light, but respect the night
Look at the sky at night and what do you see? Not much probably.
Since the light bulb’s invention 150 years ago, artificial lighting has inevitably entered our lives and it is here to stay, and, while it brings numerous benefits, there is also the other side of the picture, like light pollution.
According to Wikipedia– Light pollution is the presence of anthropogenic and artificial light in the night environment. It is exacerbated by excessive, misdirected or obtrusive use of light, but even carefully used light fundamentally alters natural conditions. As a major side-effect of urbanization, it is blamed for compromising health, disrupting ecosystems and spoiling aesthetic environments.
This means light pollution robs humanity of the wonder of starry nights, while wasting energy and money, and even affecting the wellbeing of people and wildlife, while wasting energy and money.
Most of us live under light-polluted night skies due to wasteful and inappropriate artificial lighting – according to a study published in 2016, The new world atlas of artificial night sky brightness, concludes that 80 percent of the world’s population lives under light-polluted skies. Europe has it even worse, with 99 percent of its citizens experiencing skyglow at night.
The International Dark-sky Association identifies the main forms of light pollution as light trespass, glare, clutter, and skyglow.
Glare – excessive brightness
Glare is the difficulty of seeing when the eye is confronted by a bright light, like the sun during the day or the oncoming car lights at night, and is also the case when dealing with street lights. In other words, bright or badly shielded street lights can partially blind drivers or pedestrians and contribute to accidents.
Light trespass – light falling where it’s not needed
The International Dark Sky Association estimates that 35% of artificial light is wasted because it is poorly aimed or unshielded – in conclusion: by the inefficient use of artificial light.
By using fully-shielded outdoor light fixtures that direct light downwards to the ground, not upwards or sideways we can minimize the glare and the light trespass.
Skyglow – brightening of the sky over towns and cities
The light wasted upward or sideways by the outdoor lighting lights up the atmospheric particles and molecules producing a luminous background that obstructs the vision of the night sky. This is the reason most people on Earth never see a naturally dark night sky.
Clutter – bright and confusing groupings of light sources
Against clutter, we have a simple solution – lighting only areas where light is really needed, and using only the minimum level of light needed.
We can reduce light pollution by using timers, motion sensors, and adaptive smart lighting controls that dim or turn lights off after hours. Essentially by not wasting money while we sleep.
Other solutions are to replace unshielded, overly bright, or upward lighting.
It’s time for LEDification
ELBA encourages its clients to switch to LEDs – a more sustainable, community, and eco-friendly solution. Using LEDs lighting, we can conserve energy, save money, reduce carbon emissions, prevent glare, improve visibility and safety, and even get back some of the beauty of a starry night.
LED lights contribute significantly to reducing light pollution because of the following qualities:
- LEDs are directional – their light is highly focused, reducing glare, skyglow, and light trespass;
- LEDs allow reduced illuminance without compromising visibility – this also minimizes the glare;
- Our LED lights can be used in intelligent lighting systems. We use wireless technology to control lights from a central management system. It means at any time lamps could be adjusted in response to weather, circumstance, and individual need. Sensors, texting, and email could be utilized to transmit the information;
- Dimmers, motion sensors, and timers can help to reduce average illumination levels and save even more energy, even without being included in a smart system.
It must be said that only warm-colored LEDs should be used. Blue-rich white lighting having the greatest negative impact on humans and wildlife alike. The sleep-inducing hormone melatonin is particularly sensitive to blue light. That is why efforts must be made to minimize and control blue-rich environmental lighting by using the lowest emission of blue light possible.
Let’s get back the magic of a starry night!
Need more info? Ask us or check these references to learn more:
– International Dark-Sky Association, www.darksky.org
– NPS Night Skies, www.nps.gov/subjects/nightskies