The impacts and consequences of Corvid-19 will be far reaching, not least on the strength of the economy and the sustainability of businesses. Going forward we need to build resilience, tighten our belts and watch the bottom-line in our expenditure. It’s a no-brainer then to cut out unnecessary waste such as energy and lighting, especially as we must also tackle the climate emergency by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. 

Unused lights left on overnight, such as those in office buildings, car showrooms or retails advertising signs, wastes energy and contributes to the general Sky glow from towns/cities. Being Dark Sky friendly does not mean ‘no light,’ it means using the light that you need for a particular task in the most efficient way. 

The International Dark Skies Association (IDA) estimates that least 30 percent of all outdoor lighting in the U.S. alone is wasted, mostly by lights that aren’t shielded. That adds up to $3.3 billion and the release of 21 million tons of carbon dioxide per year!(1) Properly shielded lights prevent light from escaping above the horizontal which adds to the problem of Sky Glow. By focusing the light downward, an average of 40% more of the light emitted reaches the intended area on the ground, because of this less powerful bulbs can be used. 

In their Night Blight Report 2014(2), CPRE The Countryside Charity, estimated local councils were spending £613 million on street lighting in 2014-15 – and the lights accounted for between 15-30% of a Council’s carbon emissions. Positively in Cumbria the road lighting programme since 2012-13, replacing the old sodium lights with more efficient LEDs and widespread over-night dimming, has cut the County Council’s road lighting electricity use by 62% and the carbon emissions by 80%. Down in Hampshire through a programme of dimming by the end of 2018 the County Council’s energy consumption was less than half of what it was in 2010, with savings of around £2 million a year. This also sees a reduction in the Authority’s carbon emissions by 720 tonnes per year, saving £12,960 in avoided carbon tax.(3) 

The Energy Savings Trust says that: ‘Lighting accounts for 15% of a typical household’s Electricity bill…. By replacing all bulbs in your home with LED alternatives, you could save about £40 a year on your electricity bills…. Use a sensor and timer on external lights so they are only in use when they need to be.’(4) 

Sky Glow from widespread light pollution stems from lots of individual decisions to add more and more artificial lighting into our towns, villages, businesses and homes. We can all look at our own lighting to see where it’s no longer needed, change the bulbs brightness, lower the angle, add shielding and switch lights off with a timer or sensor….. Save on your electricity costs and do your bit to reduce light pollution! 

(1). https://www.darksky.org/light-pollution/energy-waste/

(2). https://www.nightblight.cpre.org.uk/images/resources/Night_Blight_cpre.pdf

(3). https://democracy.hants.gov.uk/documents/s24832/Report.pdf

(4). https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/home-energy-efficiency/lighting