Street Lighting Impact and Pollution on Environment

Street Lighting Impact and Pollution on Environment

Street lighting impact on the environment, animal life

Studies in Europe have demonstrated that street lighting has a significant effect on the mood of human beings, animal life and the environment. It affects navigation of birds and insects, mating behavior in animals and flowering in plants. Millions of insects are attracted to street lights at night (particularly during summer months) and perish. These insects can be an urban nuisance besides adding to the cost of cleaning up lamp fixtures and the street sidewalk to remove dead insects. But not all street lights attract insects or affect animal life the same.  The impact of LED lights on animals is much smaller compared to other lights.


Light pollution and glare in street lighting

IESNA classifies luminaires as »non cutoff«, »semi-cutoff«, »cutoff« and »full cutoff«, depending on how much of light is dispersed above the horizontal line of luminaire.



The non-cutoff fixtures usually include the globe-shaped lamps that are mounted on top of lampposts. These lamps distribute their light in all directions. A major problem is created by the light pollution and glare, as they shoot their light upwards into trees and towards the sky rather than down towards the ground. Non-cutoff fixtures are rarely found on roadways because they tend to blind the driver.



This is the most popular street lighting optic. The semi cutoff fixtures usually refer to the cobra heads, but they can also apply to some lamppost-mounted fixtures that do not emit their light upwards. Most of the light can be emitted below 90 degrees, but as much as 5% of the light can also be emitted above 90 degrees. These fixtures do a very good job of spreading the light towards the ground but some uplight is possible, though not as serious as non-cutoff fixtures. Semicutoff fixtures are often mounted on tall poles.



These optics give more light control than semi cutoffs. Less than 2.5% of the light can leave the fixture above 90 degrees. Cutoff fixtures have gained popularity in recent years, as they are available from manufacturers like GE and American Electric. The cutoff lights have a wider spread of light than full-cutoffs, and they generate less glare than semi cutoffs. The cutoff lenses consist of a shallow curved glass (also called a sag lens) that is visible just below the lighting area on the fixture.



These lights do not allow any of the light to escape the fixture above 90 degrees. Full-cutoffs distribute their light in a defined pattern, potentially providing more light on the ground at lower power consumption. Full cutoff means luminaires which are totally environmentally friendly (causing no light pollution).

Street Lighting Impact and Pollution on Environment

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