Un-diffused, unshielded and too-bright LED street lights are being installed throughout Canberra.
Over many years the community, the NCCC, and professionals have approached government to jointly solve the problems intrinsic to LED street lighting:
• light pollution,
• a Kelvin rating (CCT) above the range of 2200 – 2700 which burns the retina,
• the whole-of-life cost can be more expensive than existing lighting even though the cost per lumen to run is cheaper.
Poor government interaction with the community
The community, electrical engineers and professionals have worked hard in the A.C.T. for a number of years in their attempts at joint problem-solving that meets the needs of the community and the environment and have been disregarded.
LED street lighting has one potential advantage in being cheaper per lumen to run. A lumen is a measure of the total quantity of visible light emitted by a source per unit of time
The A.C.T. LED street lighting has many disadvantages including:
1. wasting energy through being much brighter than necessary even though they may be more efficient per lumen,
2. producing excessive glare and being too bright for comfort,
3. causing danger and risks by dazzling and blinding the onlooker,
4. a Kelvin rating (CCT) too high for health especially for the eyes
(Refer the AMA report of 2016)
5. no diffusers to reduce the glare,
6. no shields to help contain the glare,
7. adverse effects on the flora, fauna and ecosystems,
8. downsides for people and animals at night including: disturbing rest and sleep, disturbing the day and night behaviours of animals and insects and the negative physical impact of intensely bright light.
9. contravenes official guidelines, policies, standards, regulations and laws.
10. violate basic human rights.
Solutions put to government for LED lights to be effective
The problem-solving put forward by the community-minded citizens of the ACT are to:
1. retrofit existing LED street lights with shields and diffusers,
2. choose superior and ‘green’ luminaires such as in the LUM100SL series,
3. choose lights with a CCT of no more than 2700 Kelvin, and no more than 2200 in suburban areas,
4. choose lights with a spectral G-index of at least 2.0,
5. dim the lights significantly overall and further dim them in the evening say around 9 PM,
6. turn the lights off completely at about 11 PM,
7. put the lights on motion detectors saving even more electricity,
8. put a variety of street lights on display and ask the public for feedback before making any decisions.
Overall cost/benefit analysis
These experts have worked with the government and want the community to understand the overall benefit versus the costs of LED street lighting.
Requests for relevant technical information, specifications and the business case to enable a public cost-benefit analysis have been unmet.
The cost-benefit analysis involves assessing the potential efficiency of a reduced cost per lumen against all the other costs:
• new street lighting infrastructure,
• installing shields and diffusers,
• using phosphor converted amber (PCA) LED’s at the same 2200 Kelvin temperature as HPS street lights
• using LED’s of 2700 Kelvin and no more than 2200 in suburban areas,
• using spectral G-index of at least 2.0,
• motion detectors,
• reduced quality of life,
• disrupted animal, plant and insect life,
• the cost of block-out curtains imposed on private individuals.
Requests for relevant technical information, specifications and the business case to enable a public cost-benefit analysis are unmet.
Light pollution is the inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light – known as light pollution – can have serious environmental consequences for humans, wildlife, and our climate. Components of light pollution include:
• Glare – excessive brightness that causes visual discomfort
• Skyglow – brightening of the night sky over inhabited areas
• Light trespass – light falling where it is not intended or needed
• Clutter – bright, confusing and excessive groupings of light sources
The fact is that much outdoor lighting used at night is inefficient, overly bright, poorly targeted, improperly shielded, and, in many cases, completely unnecessary. This light, and the electricity used to create it, is being wasted by spilling it into the sky, rather than focusing it on to the actual objects and areas that people want illuminated.
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