Light interacts with life in many subtle and complex ways, and as such the ecosystems of the natural world are affected by both the quantity and quality of artificial light.
The natural world has evolved to a fundamental rhythm of light days and dark nights. The quality of natural light affects the physiology of other animals, as well as humans. With increasing amounts of light at night, changes in artificial light have an impact, especially on nocturnal creatures. ‘The environment’ is the cited reason for the ban on incandescent lighting and the roll out of new forms of lighting. But the question is complex and leads to more questions…
- By what criteria are lights assessed for environmental status?
- What environmental issues are involved in extracting materials used to make the lights?
- What toxins do they contain? How will these be disposed of?
- Do we only compare the energy used while the bulb is switched on, or the whole journey of that bulb from components, manufacture, use and disposal?
The aesthetics of light also need to be taken into account – light and its consequences in colour and ambience have a profound affect on mood, psychology and wellbeing. The whole environment, ourselves included, and our quality of life are intricately intertwined with the nature of the light we are exposed to. We need to understand far more about this interaction.
Environment papers and press
LightAware is compiling a selection of scientific papers and media reports on artificial light and the environment
|January 18, 2018 | Making Lighting Healthier | Nature Journal Biologically benign forms of energy efficient lighting are needed. I call on physicists, engineers, medical experts, biologists and designers to develop them. Read More >|
|November 22, 2017 | The Switch to Outdoor LED Lighting Has Completely Backfired | GIZMODO website The use of LEDs has resulted in a “rebound” effect whereby many jurisdictions have opted to use even more light owing to the associated energy savings. Read More >|
|February 6, 2017 | LED lighting could have major impact on wildlife | University of Exeter The growth of LED lighting is an issue of global concern, and the number of documented impacts on the environment is growing rapidly. Read More >|
|January 17, 2017 | Darkness design for new motorway | ARUP How to light a road that has been so carefully integrated into the national landscape of the Noardlike Fryske Wâlden? According to NEXT Architects and Arup, the best way to do this is to cherish the darkness. Although the activities for the new highway De Centrale As (N356) are not finalised yet, the lighting design of NEXT Architects and Arup is already showing. By limiting the illumination, the lighting design unites architecture, nature, landscape and culture to strengthen the identity of the road. Read More >|
|October 25, 2016 | The impact of artificial lighting on bats along native coastal vegetation | Australian Mammology Anthropogenic light pollution is increasing rapidly within urban areas around the world, causing a raft of ecological issues, including species loss. Read More >|
|October 25, 2016 | Rising mercury level turns silent killer in Capital | India Today A massive amount of mercury - the toxic element that makes Compact Fluorescent Lamps and bulbs (CFLs) work - may be silently accumulating in the atmosphere thanks to the gross mismanagement of used and broken CFLs. Read More >|
|June 25, 2016 | The New World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness | Science Advances This atlas shows that more than 80% of the world and more than 99% of the U.S. and European populations live under light-polluted skies. Read More >|
|December 25, 2015 | Dark Matters | Springer International Publishing The Effects of Artificial Lighting on Bats Read More >|
|January 24, 2013 | Low Energy Light Bulbs Not So “Green” After All? | Oil Price.com Making choices about the kind of light bulbs we should be using, on the simple basis of energy consumption, and hence carbon emissions, may be a little short-sighted. Read More >|
|January 1, 2013 | To Light or not to Light | Professional Lighting Design The studies conducted so far indicate that lighting installations visible after dark negatively impact flora and fauna Read More >|
|October 12, 2010 | Artificial Night Lighting Affects Dawn Song, Extra-Pair Siring Success, and Lay Date in Songbirds | Current Biology Artificial night lighting advances the start of dawn singing in songbirds Read More >|
|May 4, 2010 | Visibility, Environmental, and Astronomical Issues Associated with Blue-Rich White Outdoor Lighting | This paper summarizes atmospheric, visual, health, and environmental research into spectral effects of lighting at night. Read More >|