Previous lighting technologies were unable to provide light that was simultaneously safe, aesthetically pleasing, and respectful of the natural environment.
As a result, aesthetic and environmental concerns had to be sacrificed for safety.
Modern, commercial LED street lighting technology offers lighting choices that are safe, aesthetically pleasing, and environmentally friendly, all at the same time.
Over the last decade we have learned that some of the choices available with modern commercial LED street lighting may have adverse health effects. This hazard arises owing to certain choices made to provide higher color temperature lighting. It is not intentional, or intrinsic to LEDs, and does not apply to all the available choices. It is also likely that next-generation products will be designed in a way that avoids these problems.
Regardless, it is possible today to choose commercial LED lighting that keeps our streets safe and our neighborhoods healthy, protects the environment, and enhances the beauty of our city. In a nutshell that means choosing LED street lighting that has a low color temperature: 2200 K or less except on those few city streets where the New Mexico Department of Transportation requires it to be a higher 2700 K.
Follow the synopses below to read more about how safety, health, ambience, and environment are all involved in the choice of modern commercial LED lighting.
Safety: The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) is the nation’s–and the world’s–lighting expert. They study lighting and how to deploy it for safety. Their recommendations are the ones followed by professional lighting engineers.
The IES says light color temperature can be chosen for ambience and environment without compromising traffic or pedestrian safety.
Health: Humans evolved to take advantage of the natural night-day cycle. Alert during the day, your body works to repair and rejuvenate itself at night. Light at night–especially light strong in blue-indigo-violet part of the spectrum–interferes with the body’s sense of time and its ability to repair itself.
Light at night should be as weak as possible and avoid, as much as possible, contributions from the blue-indigo-violet part of the spectrum.
The City Different is the combination of its sights and sounds, its tastes and smells, its architecture, its people, the desert daylight against its adobe walls, and its warm, inviting, and quieting night lighting.
Humans are not the only works of creation that depend upon the day-night cycle for their health and well-being. The agave is pollinated only in the dark night; many migratory birds navigate by the stars and will become lost if they cannot find them; and other animals depend upon the night to feed and care for their young. Many birds and insects depend on natural blue-indigo-violet light for their vision and are blinded or disoriented by artificial lights that are excessively bright in these colors.