Light as an environmental factor has an impact on all living creatures. That much we know.
Light influences both human and animal emotions and behaviour – including those of insects and generally nocturnal creatures such as bats, owls and migratory birds. As well as the shift from daylight to darkness, moonlight and starlight also play an important part.
Bats, for example, hunt only at night using echolocation. Migratory birds navigate their passage using the stars in the sky. On the water, insects hatch their larvae at night. They are all dependent on darkness. Darkness protects them from heat and hunters, allows them to search for food in safety, provides orientation, and controls biological cycles – including reproductive cycles as we see with the firefly. Female fireflies emit their gentle light signal to the males. If the surroundings are too bright, the males miss the signal and mating fails. Lighting along waterways attracts insects in their droves but this is out of balance with nature, and so they are not available as food for fish, birds and bats.
Artificial lighting affects the behaviour of our animal kingdom. We are learning more every day about the true impacts of exterior lighting, and adapting our behaviour accordingly. Bats, for example, are protected by a raft of binding international and European agreements (e.g. the Fauna Flora Habitat Directive) which also identifies light as a relevant factor.
Against this background, sustainable exterior lighting in urban or rural areas must take into account the needs of insects and other animals:
Light that looks out for insects
A main focus of Selux is the development of Night Sky technologies. LED technology plus new materials and production processes today give us considerably greater opportunity to control the direction, light distribution, duration, intensity and spectrum of luminaires.
Targeted light with a clear cut-off
Specially developed optics with a precise downward beam enable an even more targeted focus. This means that no direct light components are radiated above the horizontal plane of a luminaire. And the star-studded inky black night sky so crucial to people, animals and plants is maintained.
Warm colour temperatures
The composition of light is a determining factor as we journey towards sustainable lighting. Living organisms react highly sensitively to spectral compositions of electromagnetic radiation in the visible range, many of them to blue light in particular. The spectrum used should therefore minimise short-wave light (blue/violet) as much as possible. The recommendation is to install street lights with maximum 3000K. The lower the colour temperature, the more warm tones the light will have, and the less impact it will thus have on the animal kingdom. Wherever lighting and urban development impinge on the habitat of sensitive or endangered animals, the recommendation is to use maximum 2 400K or the extremely warm »PC Amber« colour tone. We offer corresponding light colours as standard in our new product ranges.
Reduced light intensity
Light should be no brighter than it needs to be. Where possible, normative specifications should not be exceeded. Illuminated surfaces also play a role: some materials reflect more light back into the night sky than others. Every last detail counts here — we ensure that our luminaires do not light up their poles as well, for example.
Light that adapts to the circumstances: it’s there when you need it and not when you don’t. Lighting should be operational according to use. Motion sensors or timer controls ensure light is provided at the right time, and is otherwise dimmed or switched off completely.
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