Amber LEDs can reduce light pollution

By: Secom
22 de May, 2023
Reading time: 5 min

Amber LEDs are the best choice to reduce light pollution because they blend into their surroundings better than cool white light and cause less distortion. Moreover, they do not have a harmful impact on the health of people and wildlife.

In this article we will talk about...

  • The light pollution problem
  • How amber lighting can solve the problem
  • Street lighting and light pollution: rules and regulations
  • SECOM street lighting products

The light pollution problem

Light pollution is the impact that light has on the environment. Some studies have linked light pollution to a higher rate of disease in animals and a negative impact on bird colonies, for example. This is because it interferes with their food chain, disorientates them and forces them to move or migrate. It also alters their circadian rhythm with consequences for their health and well-being. There is evidence of harmful effects on species like turtles and salmon.

This is caused by specific wavelengths that alter the environment and biodiversity. A light-polluted sky makes stargazing more difficult and disrupts air and marine traffic. It also increases energy costs.

The effects are so alarming that for years governments have been putting strategies in place to mitigate them. A great deal of research has been done to find solutions to the problem, concluding that cool white light produces more pollution and amber light is kinder to the environment.

Luz ambar para ciudades

We need to find a balance between ensuring good vision at night or during periods of darkness and preventing harmful effects for the environment. The ideal colour temperature is less than 3,000K.

How amber lighting can solve the problem

Amber LEDs are becoming the go-to solution to this problem. They are increasingly being used to light lanes, roads and other public spaces as more and more governments become aware that they are the way forward.

Unfortunately many spaces are still lit by first-generation LEDs. These LEDs have a blue wavelength, which causes glare due to creating more scatter and stray light and also increases the risk of damage to the retina.

This is because our eyes are highly sensitive to blue light. We experience what is called scotopic vision, which is when our eyes strain to see in low light.

In this type of light we produce less melatonin, which affects our ability to sleep and rest. It changes the biological clock of not only humans, but of all living things. This can lead to all kinds of health problems, like obesity, lack of concentration, fatigue and drowsiness.

Amber light:

  • improves luminous flux and increases wattage
  • optimises costs
  • improves visibility in foggy conditions compared to cool white LEDs, increasing road safety
  • improves our view of the night sky
  • is less harmful for insects and other animals
  • is warmer and softer.

Luz de ciudades ambar

Street lighting and light pollution: rules and regulations

There are many laws in this field. One of the first to be introduced in Spain was Law 31/1988, the so-called ‘Sky Law’ (Ley del Cielo).  Other laws include:

  • Law 34/2007 on air quality and protection of the atmosphere.
  • Law 21/2013, of 9 December, on environmental assessment.
  • Royal Decree 1890/2008, 14 November, approving the energy efficiency regulations for street lighting systems and their additional technical instructions EA-01 to EA-07.

These laws establish criteria and rules that must be followed by the autonomous communities and city and town councils.

Local governments must pay close attention to light sources in street lighting. They must fulfil criteria such as positioning lights correctly or using lights that comply with technical requirements and specifications. These are set out in guidelines which they follow when planning or implementing a project. The lighting project requirements and their effects on the environment must be recorded in documents and environmental impact assessments.

SECOM street lighting products

SECOM provides street lighting solutions with the option of amber LEDs to reduce light pollution and improve visibility of the night sky. The catalogue features the following products:

  • Ecodut K1 and K2

Robust lights designed to minimise light pollution. They are ideal for any type of street or road.

  • Magec

Street lights designed for areas with high humidity (marine environments, for example) due to the extremely durable thermoplastic and corrosion-resistant materials used.
The catalogue features a wide range of amber LEDs catered to all needs. Excellent light quality and low light pollution are both guaranteed, with benefits for both humans and wildlife in general. There is also the added bonus of energy savings compared to other products.

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