Wasted light

Excess lighting at night is bad for all of us not just because it stops us seeing the universe (perhaps we will need Universe Awareness) but because it causes a whole lot of other problems too. Astronomer Darren Baskill writing on the BBC news site points out many of the detrimental effects of badly used lighting. These include the contribution to carbon emissions (the UK uses an entire medium-sized coal-fired power station just to pointlessly light up the night sky rather than the ground), the occasional car accident and plane crash due to over-use of lighting, disruption to animal feeding and breeding cycles and increased visual stress for drivers amongst others.

All this could be made much better if people just used appropriate levels of lighting and angled their lights properly. It is that simple and you can reduce your power bill at the same time. A good example that I have noticed over the last few years are the lights on the M62 motorway between Leeds and Manchester. Quite big stretches now have full cutoff luminares which has noticeably reduced glare.

Thanks to Neil for pointing out the BBC article.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Saturday 19th Aug 2006 (14:42 BST) | Permalink
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