Researchers from Mexico and Taiwan have co-developed a new design for streetlamps that will greatly reduce the amount of light pollution they emit. Existing solutions waste as much as 20 percent of their light by shining onto nearby objects or drifting off into the night sky.
The new LED streetlamps are said to get that figure down to just two percent by shining light only in areas that need illumination. Additionally, LED lamps could reduce power consumption by 40 to 60 percent according to Ching-Cherng Sun of the National Central University in Taiwan.
Light pollution may not sound like a major concern but it can have far reaching implications. An estimated 30 percent of electricity generated for outdoor use is wasted according to the New Jersey Astronomical Association not to mention the fact that stray light from streetlamps can be a nuisance if your bedroom window happens to be facing one.
Wasted light can also have adverse effects on nature. Stray light can cause birds in migration to fly off course while newly-hatched turtles that need a dark sky to orient toward the ocean have been found wandering aimlessly down the beach shore or even worse, on busy boardwalks. Scientists have even observed that the sleeping patterns of other animals have been disrupted thanks to artificially lengthened days.
A prototype for the new design is expected within the next three to six months. What’s more, we could see practical installations of LED streetlamps as early as next year.