The LED Paradox: How Light Pollution Challenges Experts to Reconsider Sustainable Lighting
2. A Transdisciplinary Approach: Light Pollution—A Global Discussion
3. Results: Ambivalent Views on LED Lighting
3.1. “Cheaper, More Blue and Brighter”: LEDs Contribute to Light Pollution
3.2. “If Correct CCT and Good Design”: LEDs Reduce Light Pollution
4. Discussion: Sustainable LED Visions, Unsustainable Lighting Practices?
5. Conclusions: The Dilemma Behind the LED Paradox
Conflicts of Interest
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|Code Categories||Exemplary Statements|
|Blue-rich color temperature (54.3%)||“[because] most LED have a large blue light output.”|
“blue-rich light causes more pollution and has a more deleterious effect on wildlife and the environment”
“Increased Rayleigh scattering from short-wave light.”
“Blue White light, and no thought of narrow band amber bulbs”
|Rebound effects (43.8%)||“More fixtures may be installed, due to higher efficiency and lower connected load.”|
“Due to sinking costs for maintenance more fixtures are installed (rebound effect)”
“…overuse of color ‘because we can’”
“Because of the so-called rebound effects and the many possible applications of LEDs.”
|Increase in brightness (23.8%)||“…because of misunderstanding about what lighting levels can be achieved.”|
“Due to higher lumen/Watt ratios (and unfortunate standards…)”
“…much brighter and glary light compared to traditional lighting sources.”
|Bad design choices, bad installations (13.3%)||“…communities do not care about the real possibilities by dimming them [LEDs].”|
“Many local authorities use over-bright, too-blue LEDs. Most domestic and commercial exterior lighting is poorly designed, too bright and has little or no information about preventing pollution.”
“…LEDs increase light pollution when they are used as replacements for CFL lamps because their higher efficiency is not used to reduce the energy consumption but to increase the level of lightning.”
|Glare (9.5%)||“…much brighter and glary light compared to traditional lighting sources.”|
“…intense distribution of light/glare”
“It creates… debilitating glare…”
“Strong directional project contributes to glare, and can require more installations.”
|Poor luminaire design (7.6%)||“…the only LED streetlight available here in Brazil so far is 6.400k!”|
“Illumination levels too high; retrofit are bad and still many unshielded LED will be established.”
“Horrible ‘white’ spectrums. Planar wavefront formation, concentrated source surfaces…”
|Other (7.6%)||“It creates more circadian disruption, debilitating glare and sky glow + is an aesthetic disaster.”|
“LEDs terrorize my eyes virtually everywhere - in streetlamps, at sports fields, in DRLs, in ceilings, even in some new refrigerators (which have two strips of LEDs).”
“NASA photos prove there is more light pollution. My burning retinas also register more light.”
|Code Categories||Exemplary Statements|
|Good luminaire designs and installations (inseparable) (82.8%)||“Because LEDs are more flexible than other light sources and can bring light only to areas where it is really needed.”|
“LEDs are key to reducing light pollution: directionality, dimmable, tailored spectrum.”
“LEDs can be shielded to reduce light pollution…”
“Better inherent shielding directional control in many designs.”
|Low color temperature|
|“If having a color temperature < 2700 K. There are orange LEDs with a TCC < 2200 K.”|
“The option of low-blue-light LED like PC-amber can offer a great combination of the pros of LED while reducing the amount of blue to amounts that are less than HPS.”
“…they come in low CCTs for healthier light.”
“…PC amber LEDs may give a substantial reduction of LP.”
|Dimmed light levels or temporal darkness (37.5%)|| “It can be dimmed easily, it can be easily directed because of the optical possibilities, and the spectrum light emissions can be regulated and customized.”|
“Dimming and shutoff options could help reduce light pollution by shutting off lights when not needed.”
“If used correctly, LEDs can reduce light pollution. It all depends on the light distribution and of course dimming.”
|Dynamic digital and/or sensor-based control (25%)||“…better options for intelligent dimming/switching (sadly not utilized in many areas)”|
“Smart lighting allows dimming when required”
“LEDs enable the development and the use of smart lighting solutions (dimming, instant detection…)”
|Other (9.3%)||“Proper binning, right CCT, adequate testing and proper disposal.”|
“Higher [product] prices allow better beam shaping”
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Schulte-Römer, N.; Meier, J.; Söding, M.; Dannemann, E. The LED Paradox: How Light Pollution Challenges Experts to Reconsider Sustainable Lighting. Sustainability 2019, 11, 6160. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216160
Schulte-Römer N, Meier J, Söding M, Dannemann E. The LED Paradox: How Light Pollution Challenges Experts to Reconsider Sustainable Lighting. Sustainability. 2019; 11(21):6160. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216160Chicago/Turabian Style
Schulte-Römer, Nona, Josiane Meier, Max Söding, and Etta Dannemann. 2019. "The LED Paradox: How Light Pollution Challenges Experts to Reconsider Sustainable Lighting" Sustainability 11, no. 21: 6160. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216160