Haze and (light) pollution

Singapore 17th June 2013

We live in an age where pollution, certainly in the big multi million people cities, is becoming a way of life rather than the exception. Today in Singapore we were hit by extreme haze that blows over from uncontrolled forest burn downs in Indonesia. With a PSI (pollution standard index) reaching way into the unhealthy levels; it had been going on the last few days but today we hit well over the 110 PSI. I cannot do much about this pollution (I already don’t drive a car in Singapore) but I can certainly contribute by minimising light pollution. Light pollution is really wasting light by having light going to unintended or useless places. Unfortunately many who call themselves lighting designers, don’t seem to either care or understand the issue of light pollution. And I am not just talking about light that is “lost” in space by uncontrolled optical systems, but even with “properly” directed light still having massive amounts of sideways spill light that cannot be classified as useful light.

I have to say that again manufacturers and sales people are partly to blame. They sell these (generally very cheap) light fittings that blasts light uncontrolled in all directions. Generally small little down lights without any optics (easily identified by their glary appearance) creates lots of wasted light. Most of the time it is pure ignorance from sales people, as I would expect that some manufacturers at least have some form of optical knowledge. But then do they care? I would say probably not otherwise why would you put these lights on the market??? The answer is probably money…

But we as lighting designers are equally responsible and hence to blame if we do not stringently apply our knowledge and understanding of lighting and lighting optics to make sure we select the right system that allows us to manipulate and control the light output to exactly where we want it. Budget restraints may pose serious challenges but then that when we need to pull out all stops to educate our client on the ill effects of light pollution! That’s why we are professional consultants…it comes with responsibilities!

Light Watch 4-107: Light pollution…see how much uncontrolled light creates pollution and affects the night sky…

17. June 2013 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: city beautification, Education, going green, light and health, light watch, lighting applications, lighting design | Leave a comment

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