Understanding the Environmental Impact of Exterior Lighting

Have you ever noticed moths circling lights at night? They may mistake it for moonlight. Most insects trapped in this cycle die from exhaustion or are eaten by predators. Sadly, we’re losing insects at an alarm rate. The world’s insect population has declined by 40% and 1/3 of insects are endangered. Many scientists are calling this the insect apocalypse.

Insects are vital to the food chain. Their decreased numbers create even more endangered animal species and fewer resources for humans as well. Humans rely on insects to pollinate our crops. Insects also provide pest control and recycle nutrients. Insects are disappearing because of pesticides, habitat loss, the climate crisis.

However, one cause is often overlooked: light pollution.

There are over 97 million street and parking lights in the US alone, not to mention residential and commercial night lighting. Streetlights disrupt insect movement, reproduction, development, foraging and predation.

But there is good news and easy ways to help out the insect population. Whether you’re an engineer working on a city lighting project, or a homeowner with outdoor lighting, you can make a difference. We can have both night safety and ensure the safety and health of our world.

Good News: You Can Make a Difference and Here’s How

Homeowners can take simple steps to incorporate eco-friendly exterior lighting practices:

  1. Turn unnecessary lights off at night or put them on a timer.
  2. Replace blue-white lighting to amber or red.
  3. Use motion sensor lighting.

Specifiers, Lighting Designers and Municipalities can have an even greater impact because there are streetlights developed for insect safety.

  1. Incorporate are dark sky friendly light fixtures equipped with shielding that prevents natural areas from receiving light.
  2. Use lighting with flexible color temperatures and light output that changes at different times night. (see information below by BEGA). Insects are significantly less attracted to amber lighting, and this can be done without affecting the natural balance of the area and still ensuring safety. This should be paired with an appropriate control system.
  3. Use lighting controls and develop a sequence of operations for how the lighting should be controlled in order to increase energy efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of overlighting.
  4. Education is key. There’s a misconception that brighter, bluer lighting is better for safety. When in fact, contrast between light and dark areas is significantly more instrumental in ensuring safe nighttime lighting environments. To better understand the effects of contrast we highly recommend the article: Parking Lot Lighting Design which demonstrates these concepts through images, videos and solutions based practices.

At Resource Lighting + Controls, we care deeply about the environment, and we want to spread the message that together, we can have an impact. If you need help with your parking lot or roadway design, we’re here with lighting product suggestions, photometrics, lighting and controls layouts, education and service. Contact one of our specification representatives.

BEGA BugSaver

Address Environmental Impacts of Lighting with Eco-Friendly Exterior Lighting Products

We are proud to represent BEGA BugSaver ® technologies. This technology allows specifiers to incorporate environmental protection into their designs. If you decide to use this technology or any lighting method to address environmental concerns, we’re here as part of your journey. We advise specifiers on products and controls currently available and in development to ensure a brighter future for us all.

From the BEGA website, note some of the key elements that BEGA incorporates into their BugSaver technology:

  • For the protection of nocturnal animals, BEGA switches the light up Amber color to 3000 Kelvin.
  • The significantly reduced blue light component of Amber light is less attractive to insects.
  • An additional reduction of the light output during night-time hours enhances the effect.
  • Less stray light also reduces unnecessary light pollution of the night sky so that flora and fauna experience less distraction.
  • The technology is controlled Using BEGA BugSaver ® control devices or a superordinate DALI light controller.

Dark Sky Friendly Lighting

At Resource Lighting + Controls, we have a number of dark sky friendly lighting manufacturers. Find them by visiting our Linecard and search by “Product Search” in the upper navigation. Type “Dark Sky” or any keyword you choose into the product search box.

Lumenpulse and their newest innovation for exterior lighting called Lumencentro is one of our excellent Dark Sky Friendly choices. the dark sky friendly fixture, STEELE features the Lumencentro light engine.

This fixture is highly specifiable which 6 color temperatures and 8 distribution, numerous finishes and specifiable options. Lumenpulse fixtures blend with or enhance any environment through color-rendering capabilities. Consider Lumenpulse when developing your eco-friendly lighting designs.