Love Light, Hate Pollution? Towards Darker Skies

Vincent Lang
Research Manager

We already know it’s important to minimise light pollution and protect dark night skies. It saves energy, protects the natural rhythms of fauna and flora, and is even required by law in some countries. Every town, village and city is unique, so getting the optimal lighting system means a lot of choices. Let’s discuss the process, and how Schréder’s history of innovation in street lighting can help your community protect the precious asset that is the night sky. 

First Things First

It all starts with the switch from legacy light sources like sodium, gas or fluorescent tubes to LEDs. LEDs project light in a specific direction, meaning users benefit from clear illumination where they need it - and excess no light straying upwards. LEDs are also an extremely energy efficient lighting solution, which can be closely controlled. Dimmers ensure that LEDs only emit the required level of light, which also cuts energy wastage - the Energy Saving Trust reports if every street lamp in the UK was upgraded to LED, it would save in the region of £77million1.

Next, consider where the lighting system will be used. Different lighting is appropriate for different environments, whether that’s a major road, residential street or pedestrianised city centre. Local authorities know what areas need, which is why our sales teams work closely with planners, architects and local experts at every stage of the process. 

Next Up: Design

Poor lighting design results in energy waste, light spill and light intrusion. In contrast, responsible design ensures that users benefit from clear visibility, without environmental damage. Communities enjoy visual comfort and a perception of safety, with the minimum of light pollution. At Schréder, we’ve long developed specific optics with variable photometric distribution, ensuring the right light is directed in the right place, at the right time. 

Pure Night by Schréder eliminates light pollution and prevents light trespass to protect our dark skies

Our Pure Night solution is the next step in that journey. Eliminating the glare zone, preventing light trespass and with a 0° tilt option ensure there is no upward light spill, darkness has never looked so good! Pure Night creates beautifully-lit safe streets where you need them - and nothing else. Pure Night makes Schréder your partner in all your lighting projects and includes a team of specialists to provide you with quality photometric studies, innovative luminaires that can be adapted to suit your city, and Pure Night accessories that have been developed to meet the new requirements in terms of light pollution. We’ve also lightened the load when it comes to paperwork: our PURE software can be used to certify luminaires, making sure everything complies with local regulations.

Getting Warmer: Colour Temperature

Anyone who’s ever bought paint knows that there’s an infinite choice when it comes to white. Exterior lighting is the same. Warm whites are more comforting to look at, while cool whites can provide ultra-sharp visibility at night and give an accent to features that deserve a second look. Light temperature is measured with correlated colour temperature (CCT) which enables cities to adjust hues and tones to get the perfect balance for their lighting. 

Colour temperature plays an important role in reducing light pollution

Schréder’s new FlexiWhite solution was developed to find that balance. Using our new FLEXIA luminaire, alongside existing products, FlexiWhite gives you the freedom to use the right colour temperature at any time. Whether it relies on preprogrammed scenarios, works with a remote control system, uses sensors or a mix of all these inputs, the system offers you the flexibility to provide the perfect lighting: the right colour temperature, when you want it, where you need it. 

Blue-rich white light, for example, can be particularly troublesome, because in excess, it can impair circadian rhythms and sleep. It is also significantly brighter than most alternative lighting solutions, which increases the level of light trespass and has damaging consequences for both humans and wildlife. France’s recent law on light pollution, which aims to protect nighttime darkness, illustrates the significance of CCT. The new law - which sets the standard for western Europe - restricts exterior blue light emissions and requires that the CCT doesn’t exceed 3000 Kelvins. Nature reserves and parks have additional protection, with the CCT limited to 2,400-2,700K. 

All this can be easily complied with using FlexiWhite, and in addition, sensor technology allows lighting to be closely controlled. Daylight sensors ensure exterior lighting only becomes operational when the natural light decreases to a predetermined level. Likewise, motion sensors guarantee that a luminaire will only emit light when movement is detected. Both solutions reduce light pollution, as well as energy consumption. 

Dark Nights, Bright Futures

Having an adjustable system means that lighting requirements can be adjusted in future, too. With real-time input from sensors, local authorities can work out what they need and plan accordingly - and make future adjustments by changing the programming, rather than installing new lights! That means savings on energy, maintenance and installation, plus the ability to adapt quickly to sudden changes.
To make enlightened decisions about the way your streets look at night, contact your local Schréder team.

About the writer

Vincent joined Schréder in 1997 and brings over 22 years’ experience in photometry. He was instrumental in successfully developing the LensoFlex® LED light engines for our street and road lighting luminaires. His insights and ideas have helped to pioneer new lighting technologies to ensure successful market launches for all our product ranges.


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