A study performed by the University of Exeter (UK) has shown that over the past 25 years, light pollution has increased by 49% due to the rising number of light points. When the autumn-winter season is in full swing, the days are getting shorter, resulting in a higher usage of artificial light. What is light pollution all about? And, most importantly, are we able to decrease it without plunging into darkness?

"Let's take a moment to look at the night sky and count the stars. Have you noticed that they are becoming less and less visible? Light smog, or the bright glow visible after dark, is caused by an excess of poorly directed, inefficient lighting systems. This happens especially in urban areas, where artificial and often outdated installations are used on a huge scale. This phenomenon negatively affects human health and wildlife behavior," explains Dr. Pawel Morawski (TRILUX Trade Manager).

According to the IDA (International Dark-sky Association), light pollution is growing worldwide at twice the rate of global population growth.

The effect of nightly artificial lighting on people and animals

Evolution has equipped us with a natural circadian cycle, regulated by (day)light and darkness. Light smog, produced by artificial light sources, disrupts this cycle in both humans and animals. It affects hormone levels as well as reproductive processes. Since some species hunt, reproduce, migrate and hibernate in the dark, the intense brightness of artificial light at night disrupts their natural behavior.

Five ways to responsibly illuminate facades and outdoor areas

Lighting manufacturers who are recognizing the problem of light pollution, are currently working on improving light sources and luminaire designs, which do not disturb the ecosystem. The IDA (International Development Association) has distinguished five criteria defining the characteristics of responsible outdoor lighting.

1. Lighting installations should be only present in areas where they are necessary.

2. Luminaires should be controlled by a system adjusting light parameters to the actual demand of the environment.

3. The light intensity should be reduced to the minimum.

4. The lighting should have a warm color temperature and glare reduction.

5. The designs of enclosed luminaires should direct the light source only toward the lower half-space without scattering.

"Many types of outdoor lighting consist of slightly inclined lanterns, in which the glass is convex. The light emitted in this way diffuses unnecessarily into the upper half-space. Fortunately, there are more and more conscious designers and architects who are taking the guidelines on light pollution into account. They are increasingly using new solutions contributing to an eco-friendlier way of illumination. The new generation of luminaires and lighting management systems allow intelligent and fully automated management of light intensity, adjusting it to the level of natural sunlight. Combined with energy-efficient LED sources, this system generates large savings, which, with today's electricity prices, is another argument for modernizing outdated solutions," says Dr. Pawel Morawski (TRILUX Trade Manager).