By using LED's, you can reduce energy use and protect the environment.

Did you know that over 80% of the planet's population live under light-polluted skies? Lighting plays a big role in our lives and has a profound effect on us both physically and mentally. sat down with a lighting expert Spencer Baxter from global lighting experts, Nulty Lighting, to shed light on the conundrum of 'light-pollution'.

What is Light Pollution?

When was the last time you spent time outdoors staring at the night sky? Were you lucky enought to see any stars at all? Van Gogh's famous 'Starry Night' was depicting St Remy France; today in 2021 the Milky way can no longer be seen from that same place.

That's the kind of effect that we're talking about which is caused by light pollution. Not only does it destroy aesthetics, but it also has a detrimental effect on our health.

"Ecosystems are all connected, and the scientific evidence clearly demonstrates artificial light at night has negative and deadly effects on many creatures including amphibians, birds, mammals, insects, and plants," said Spencer Baxter, The Nulty Director.

How do you Control light pollution?

There are organizations like The International Dark-Sky Association. They are the largest organization advocating for the Dark Sky movement - that is, they believe that the night benefits all living things. They are working towards returning to star-filled skies with less lights all over the planet.

"However, the responsibility to reduce light pollution lays with everyone," said Spencer Baxter, "By using LED's, you can reduce energy use and protect the environment; warm-coloured lamps should be used where possible. Apply automated lighting controls, use dimmers, motion sensors and timers to help to reduce average illumination levels. We can all use fixtures that shield the light source to minimize glare and light trespass; turn off unnecessary indoor lighting and avoid the use of blue light at night." he explained.

The hospitality industry has are considerable contributers to light pollution especially from hotels' signage, billboards and poorly designed lighting.

Some of the hotels participating in Dark-Sky Association initiatives noticed that the problem and have started to lower light levels to near candlelight levels during the new moon which not only reduces their light emissions, but also raises light pollution awareness.

Pollution and Design

There are plenty of standards around lighting design and lighting engineering, and for good reason; one of the lighting designer's roles is to wade through the existing regulations and challenge or improve designs when not appropriate.

"Recently on an environmentally sensitive Maldivian Island project we were met with operator guidelines that were more suited to an urban environment. Of course we challenged the one-size-fits-all approach in our design as it was simply not suitable to the project. These guidelines would not allow an emotional connection between the people and the space whilst simultaneously considering the night-time environment. Lighting Designers understand this intangible substance called light and should apply appropriate design principles to control and reduce light pollution."

One crucial role of lighting designers is to make clients' spaces beautiful, all the while taking the client themselves on an educational and creative journey.

"Avoiding light pollution whilst delivering excellent lighting design is as much about the dark as it is light. Our role is to choreograph the darkness to let night be night."

More about lighting pollution here

Photo Credit : NULTY