Having adequate outside lighting for security and convenience has become a need. But very few people know that it has a negative effect on nighttime wildlife and the surrounding ecosystem. Numerous studies have revealed that artificial lighting disrupts natural behaviors and significantly threatens our animal population. Therefore, it is imperative that not only conservationists, but every individual should prioritize eco-friendly outdoor lighting solutions to protect wildlife and safeguard our surroundings. Join us as we explore the journey towards selecting the best environmentally friendly outdoor lighting solution tailored to the needs of the consumers.
You can also check our wildlife certified lighting collection.
What is the impact of outdoor lighting on wildlife?
Outdoor lights have a significant and wide-ranging impact on wildlife. According to numerous studies, outdoor illumination constantly interrupts the natural behavior of wildlife, endangering their survival and well-being. The disturbance of animals' circadian rhythms exacerbates the harmful consequences of light pollution. For instance, migratory birds can become disoriented by bright lights, leading to catastrophic collisions. Installing proper illumination for evening use helps avoid and reduce these negative effects. Each year, unnecessary artificial nighttime lighting causes the death of thousands of shorebirds and migratory birds. Furthermore, the awe-inspiring beauty of starry night skies is diminished, weakening our connection to the natural world. The disruption of outdoor lighting on wildlife is multifaceted:
1. Disruption of Nocturnal Ecology
Outdoor lighting disturbs the natural rhythm between predators and prey. Predators rely on darkness for effective hunting, while prey species seek shelter in the dark. Bright lights from outdoor fixtures can disorient sea turtles, while insects are attracted and trapped in circling patterns around bright lights.
2. Impact on Nocturnal Ecology and Wildlife
Excessive artificial lights disrupt ecosystems, hindering wildlife from functioning properly at night. Urban areas with cloudy skies are significantly brighter than before, posing a threat to nocturnal ecology and wildlife.
3. Disturbance of Mating Rituals
Glare from artificial lights disturbs the nighttime mating rituals of amphibians, contributing to the decline of many species. Reproduction processes are disrupted, impacting population numbers.
4. Risk to Birds
Birds, especially those that hunt at night, are greatly affected by artificial outdoor lighting. Night vision is crucial for their navigation in dark conditions. However, widespread use of artificial lighting confuses birds, making it difficult to distinguish between moonlight and artificial light. This confusion puts them at risk of injury and even death.
Furthermore, recognizing and addressing the negative impact of outdoor lighting on wildlife is vital for the preservation of biodiversity, the safeguarding of ecosystems, and the promotion of a sustainable future for both animals and humans.
How to select the best environment-friendly outdoor lighting solution to protect wildlife?
To select the best environment-friendly outdoor lighting solution that protects wildlife, there are several key factors to consider:
1. Light Source Selection
Choose lighting options that are energy-efficient and have minimal impact on the environment. LED (light-emitting diode) Lighting is a popular choice due to its energy efficiency and the ability to adjust the intensity as needed. Low-pressure sodium (LPS) lighting is also preferred for environmentally sensitive areas, while high-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting and metal halide lighting are suitable for areas requiring white light. Consider using LED fixtures with a color temperature below 3,000 Kelvins to reduce light pollution.
2. Fixtures and Shielding
Opt for outdoor lighting fixtures that minimize glare and light trespass. These fixtures should effectively shield the light source and direct the light where it is needed without unnecessarily impacting the surrounding environment. Professionally designed fixtures can help prevent light pollution and protect wildlife habitats.
3. Light Color
Choose lighting with warm colors and minimize the percentage of blue light emitted. Blue light has been linked to negative effects on human health and wildlife. By using warm-colored bulbs and reducing blue light emission, you can help mitigate the impact on wildlife and preserve their natural behavior.
4. Using Amber or Red Lights
Long-wavelength lights such as amber and red lamps can be used as they provide sufficient lighting for human visibility but are less noticeable to most animals. These lights do not disturb nocturnal animals and help prevent them from gravitating towards unwanted areas, particularly in coastal or wildlife regions.
5. Seek Environmentally Friendly Certification
Look for lighting products that comply with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Their Fixture Seal of Approval program identifies environmentally friendly lighting solutions that are fully shielded, have low color temperature, and contribute to reducing light pollution.
6. Select the Smart Control Technology
The advancements in smart control technology simplify the management of light intensity, while adaptive controls ensure the preservation of natural darkness during nighttime. By investing in smart controls and LED technology, you gain the ability to conveniently regulate your lights, establish timers or dimmers, activate motion sensor lighting, and even adjust the emitted light's color. It is recommended to choose these smart controls to activate artificial light only when necessary, during nighttime and to minimize light usage when it is not required.
7. Consider Investing in Motion Sensors
Generally large areas where tall poles or floodlighting are employed, adding motion sensors can reduce the impact on wildlife. Motion sensors can operate lights at a reduced output or turn them off when there is no motion detected. This ensures proper illumination when needed while minimizing disturbance to the surrounding wildlife. While not always applicable in all situations, it should be considered where available. Therefore, always go for installing motion sensors.
Products That are Suitable for Wet Locations
8. Integrated Solar Street Lights
Integrated solar streetlights emerge as an excellent outdoor lighting solution for protecting wildlife and the environment. These energy-conscious lights harness renewable energy from the sun, making them sustainable and responsible choices. They minimize CO2 emissions and do not harm the natural habitat of nocturnal wildlife. Additionally, integrated solar streetlights offer lighting adjustments through smart sensors, allowing for customized illumination based on specific needs. Their downward-directed design reduces wasted light and light pollution in the night sky.
To conclude, outdoor lights can hamper nocturnal animals and wildlife. However, by selecting the best outdoor and wildlife-friendly lights we can minimize the negative consequences of outdoor lights on animals and can protect wildlife. Therefore, it is essential to understand which lights to choose while considering the impact on wildlife and their natural behaviors.
For more than 37 years, the XtraLight brand has been a symbol of lighting expertise, innovation, and unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction.
At XtraLight, we take great pride in our ability to make a positive impact. One of the ways we achieve this is through our dedication to wildlife conservation. We are honored to have received wildlife certifications from the esteemed Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation, enabling us to contribute to the preservation of our precious natural heritage.
Additionally, our commitment to environmental responsibility is evident in our offerings. We provide ultra-efficient, ecologically friendly, and economically viable lighting solutions that align with our mission of promoting sustainability.
Join us in our journey to create a brighter and greener future with XtraLight – where expertise, innovation, and environmental consciousness come together to make a real difference.