How much do we rely on lights? If we want to see what we are doing, the answer is a lot. Even during the daytime we need lights in buildings, warning lights, and so on. At night, we’d be lost without a means of lighting a house, so we can cook and eat in winter, read at night, or go to the bathroom. Do we consider how environmentally friendly our lighting is? We should.
1. The Environmental Impact on Energy Production - The main environmental impact of lighting comes from the energy required to light something. Even the average home consumes vast amounts of energy just lighting rooms and that energy needs to come from somewhere. Lighting homes, businesses, streets, and even cars requires some kind of energy. This energy tends to come from power stations which traditionally have relied upon the burning of fossil fuels such as coal. Any kind of burning in order to generate energy will pollute the environment. The main question is how much pollution should it cause. It is now possible to limit and reduce the environmental impact of lighting through using more efficient light bulbs such as LEDs. Are LEDs environmentally friendly? Yes, they consume one-tenth of the energy of an incandescent bulb and half that of a CFL bulb.
2. Light Pollution - Light pollution covers a wide range of problems (outlined below), but which can be summarised as the intrusion of unappealing or unnecessary light into areas which should be dark. For some these can be a matter of taste or could have serious effects on the ability to operate, sleep and to have a direct impact on wildlife. The main types of light pollution are divided as such:
3. Cutting Down Our Impact - There are three main ways to cut down on the environmental impact of our lighting. These are to use less unnatural lighting, to use more energy efficient light forms, and to power lighting using green energy. There is cause to suggest that all of these forms should be used in combination just as understanding everything within an ecosystem is interconnected. Based on the above information, it should be possible to: Stop illuminating buildings except on special occasions Ban neon or electronic street lighting after certain hours Limit street lighting during most of the night when people should be asleep Improve access to energy efficient lighting such as LEDs especially on all public buildings and street lights Increase environmentally friendly energy sources