Light Pollution: is LED the big villain?

With the invention of electricity in the 19th century, and with it the beginning of the first public lighting at the end of the same century, our planet was dominated by artificial lighting. Today, several researchers and experts confirm that it is increasingly “stealing” the night on Earth, with consequences that go far beyond hindering, or even preventing, the view of stars and constellations, but affecting animals, plants and even health. human.

Called light pollution, this excess of artificial light has been widely discussed and with the advancement of lighting technologies and the emergence of LED, the following question remains:

– Can LED help or increase light pollution?

To understand everything about this subject, we looked for several studies to prove whether or not LED is the villain of our planet’s natural lighting. So, follow this article!

• After all, what is light pollution?

This concept corresponds to the excess of artificial light emitted by large urban centers. Both through external lights and advertisements, and, mainly, through public lighting. 

• Impacts of light pollution

Light pollution is responsible for several negative effects, both on humans and animals. Consequences are perceived in the patterns of migratory, feeding and reproductive cycles of several animal species, as well as in the flowering of some plant species. There is also the issue of inadequate disposal of elements found in conventional public lighting luminaires that contain pollutants, such as: mercury, lead, cadmium, strontium and barium.

Another negative aspect is that light pollution is a huge waste of energy and money. Approximately a quarter of all energy expenditure is directed towards generating light and a large part of this energy comes from polluting sources such as thermoelectric plants, which consume natural resources and release pollutants such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

For humans, the impacts of this intense exposure to light cause confusion in the circadian rhythm, which is the period of approximately 24 hours on which the biological cycle of practically all living beings is based. This rhythm influences our sleep patterns, temperature and hormone production. When altered, it can trigger sleep disorders, depression, obesity and mood disorders.

There are also consequences for the study of stars, as light pollution affects the visualization of our galaxy with the naked eye. The excess of wasted lighting towards the sky obscures our vision and causes the image to lose quality, disrupting astronomical measurements, responsible for defining the mass, chemical composition, temperature and luminosity of a body in space.

• How does LED fit into this story?

Fortunately, compared to other types of pollution, light pollution can be remedied through correct public lighting, capable of lighting an area without waste, consuming less power and energy.

Today, the most efficient option found on the market when we talk about public lighting are LED luminaires, as they consume little energy and provide more light. LED has many benefits, mainly focused on sustainability and saving electricity. This is because it has a useful life of up to 60% longer than common lamps, meaning it is disposed of less frequently, in addition to the materials that make up each lamp being recyclable. LEDs also do not emit UVA and UVB rays that are harmful to living beings and do not release heat, contributing to reducing the planet’s warming progress. After all, in addition to cold lamps, they reduce CO2 emissions as they consume much less energy.

An LED lighting project for public lighting is capable of offering intelligent solutions by adding high power, great performance, balanced IRC and directing the light beam, allowing only the most important points to be illuminated. For example, if the lighting project is efficient, it can direct the light beam only towards the road, avoiding irregular lighting points, reducing light pollution in homes and bringing greater safety to those traveling on the road.

For all these reasons, we can understand that LED is not the villain in this story, but rather, public lighting done without proper planning. A good lighting project for streets and public spaces needs to light only what is needed and for as long as necessary. Want to know how? Discover how AIKO‘s LED lighting projects can generate savings and results for street lighting.

For more information, please contact us.


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