Special Issue "Sustainable Lighting and Light Pollution - A Special Issue in Memory of Dr. Thomas Posch and Dr. Abraham Haim"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Engineering and Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2019.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Georges Zissis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
LAPLACE, Université de Toulouse, CNRS, Toulouse, France
Interests: lighting systems science and technology; impacts of light on life; impact on the environment and energy; lighting; visual perception

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The scope of this Special Issue is to put together a series of high-level papers treating Light Pollution to a holistic manner that goes from technological advances to policies, passing through impacts on biotopes and human health. This approach will place this special issue in a pole-position in today's literature. Beyond its evident scientific interest, this special issue ambition to contribute to awareness raising in destination of decision- and policy-makers.

Human being are not night animals. Their poor night vision and primitive fear of the dark are reflected in an imperative need to use artificial light to illuminate their environment. Since post-World War II, because it was considered as a necessity, a means of security, and an attraction or valorisation, city lighting growth was literally exponential. The phenomenal rise of public lighting is manifested today by at least hundred million lighting points illuminating our cities worldwide, whose annual electricity consumption represents roughly more than 200 TWh. Furthermore, lighting constitutes up to 25% of the budget of the rural small-size cites, corresponding to roughly 50% of their electricity bill.

This uncontrollable growth is no longer sustainable, and a drastic reduction in energy consumption needs to be imposed. However, beyond the financial and energy resources that it absorbs, the urban space's artificial lighting overflows its objective, by polluting our nights to the point that, in our modern megacities, the stars disappear from the night sky, when just 100 years ago, the Milky Way could be observed from almost everywhere. Apart from the fact that stars are no longer visible, the scientific community is increasingly interested in the direct and indirect impacts of artificial lighting on biodiversity. Several experimental studies have shown that artificial light disturbs ecosystems and could play a significant role in the decline of species whose role in the ecosystem, already weakened by human presence, is not yet fully known. Similarly, some studies have recently shown that stray light may have direct or indirect effects on human health and mood.

Light pollution, unlike other forms of contamination and waste, remains largely overlooked and unregulated in many countries. It is often exacerbated by excessive, misdirected, or obtrusive uses of light that is difficult to explain today. Measuring light pollution, quantifying the impact on biodiversity, and building reliable and robust simulation tools that allow for predicting the impact of new technologies in light pollution, are today open topics that need rapid and precise answers.

Thus, scientific evidence highlighting the negative impacts of artificial lighting in connection with the strong actions from associations of militant people have contributed to a spectacular awareness being raised at a political level in many countries. As a consequence, light pollution is now taken into consideration in more and more national environmental protection and territorial development policies.

We invite you to contribute to this Issue by submitting research articles or comprehensive reviews in all of the above-mentioned fields, in relation to light pollution. Papers selected for this Special Issue will be subject to a rigorous peer-review procedure, with the aim of a rapid and wide dissemination of research results, developments, and applications.

References:

  1. Schulte-Römer, N.; Dannemann, E.; Meier, J. Light Pollution – A Global Discussion; UFZ: Leipzig, Germany, 2018, pp. 248.
  2. Jones, B.A. Spillover health effects of energy efficiency investments: Quasi-experimental evidence from the Los Angeles LED streetlight program. Environ. Econ. Manag. 2018, 88, 283–299.
  3. Kocifajn, M. Multiple scattering contribution to the diffuse light of a night sky: A model which embraces all orders of scattering. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transf. 2018, 206, 260–272.
  4. Aubé, M. Physical behaviour of anthropogenic light propagation into the nocturnal environment. Trans. R. Soc. B. 2015, 370, 20140117.
  5. Bennie, J.; Davies, T.W.; Inger, R.; Gaston, K.J. Mapping artificial light scapes for ecological studies’, Methods Ecol. Evol. 2014, 5, 534–540.
  6. Baddiley, C. Light pollution modelling, and measurements at Malvern hills AONB, of county conversion to blue rich LEDs. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transf. 2018, 219, 142–173.
  7. Hölker, F.; Moss, T.; Griefahn, B. et al. The Dark Side of Light: A Transdisciplinary Research Agenda for Light Pollution Policy. Soc. 2010, 15, 13.
  8. Commission Internationale de l’Éclairage (CIE). Guidelines for Minimizing Sky Glow, CIE Technical Report 126-1997; CIE: Vienna, Austria, 1997.
  9. Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA). Technical Memorandum on Light Trespass: Research, Results and Recommendations, TM-11-00; IESNA: New York, USA, 2000.
  10. Irwin, A. The dark side of light: how artificial lighting is harming the natural world. (2018). Available online: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-00665-7.
  11. Azam, C; Le Viol, I.; Bas, Y.; Zissis, G. et al. Evidence for distance and illuminance thresholds in the effects of artificial lighting on bat activity. Landsc. Urban Plan. 2018, 175, 123–135.

Prof. Dr. Georges Zissis
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Light pollution measurement
  • Light pollution modelling
  • Light pollution impact on fauna
  • Light pollution impact on flora
  • Light pollution impact on human health
  • Policies to prevent/limit light pollution and territorial management
  • Best practices for street lighting with a low impact on light pollution
  • Smart lighting and light pollution.

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Artificial Light at Night Influences Clock-Gene Expression, Activity, and Fecundity in the Mosquito Culex pipiens f. molestus
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6220; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226220 - 06 Nov 2019
Abstract
Light is an important environmental cue, and exposure to artificial light at night (ALAN) may disrupt organismal physiology and behavior. We investigated whether ALAN led to changes in clock-gene expression, diel activity patterns, and fecundity in laboratory populations of the mosquito Culex pipiens [...] Read more.
Light is an important environmental cue, and exposure to artificial light at night (ALAN) may disrupt organismal physiology and behavior. We investigated whether ALAN led to changes in clock-gene expression, diel activity patterns, and fecundity in laboratory populations of the mosquito Culex pipiens f. molestus (Diptera, Culicidae), a species that occurs in urban areas and is thus regularly exposed to ALAN. Populations were kept under 16 h:8h light:dark cycles or were subjected to an additional 3.5 h of light (100–300 lx) in the evenings. ALAN induced significant changes in expression in all genes studied, either alone (period) or as an interaction with time (timeless, cryptochrome2, Clock, cycle). Changes were sex-specific: period was down-regulated in both sexes, cycle was up-regulated in females, and Clock was down-regulated in males. ALAN-exposed mosquitoes were less active during the extra-light phase, but exposed females were more active later in the night. ALAN-exposed females also produced smaller and fewer eggs. Our findings indicate a sex-specific impact of ALAN on the physiology and behavior of Culex pipiens f. molestus and that changes in clock-gene expression, activity, and fecundity may be linked. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Long-Term Comparison of Attraction of Flying Insects to Streetlights after the Transition from Traditional Light Sources to Light-Emitting Diodes in Urban and Peri-Urban Settings
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6198; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226198 - 06 Nov 2019
Abstract
Among the different light sources used for street lighting, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are likely to dominate the world market in the coming years. At the same time, the spectral composition of nocturnal illumination is changing. Europe and many other areas worldwide have implemented [...] Read more.
Among the different light sources used for street lighting, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are likely to dominate the world market in the coming years. At the same time, the spectral composition of nocturnal illumination is changing. Europe and many other areas worldwide have implemented bans on energy-inefficient lamps, such as the still very common mercury vapor lamps. However, the impact of artificial light on insects is mostly tested with light-traps or flight-intercept traps that are used for short periods only. By comparing the numbers of insects attracted by street lamps before and after replacing mercury vapor light sources (MV) with light emitting diodes, we assessed the impact in more typical (urban and peri-urban) settings over several years. We found that LED attracted approximately half of the number of insects compared to MV lights. Furthermore, most insect groups are less drawn by LED than by MV, while Hymenoptera are less attracted by MV than by LED. Thus, the composition of the attracted communities differed between the light sources, which may impact ecosystem processes and functions. In green peri-urban settings more insects are attracted than in an urban setting, but the relative difference between the light sources is the same. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The LED Paradox: How Light Pollution Challenges Experts to Reconsider Sustainable Lighting
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 6160; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216160 - 04 Nov 2019
Abstract
In the 21st century, the notion of “sustainable lighting” is closely associated with LED technology. In the past ten years, municipalities and private light users worldwide have installed light-emitting diodes in urban spaces and public streets to save energy. Yet an increasing body [...] Read more.
In the 21st century, the notion of “sustainable lighting” is closely associated with LED technology. In the past ten years, municipalities and private light users worldwide have installed light-emitting diodes in urban spaces and public streets to save energy. Yet an increasing body of interdisciplinary research suggests that supposedly sustainable LED installations are in fact unsustainable, because they increase light pollution. Paradoxically, blue-rich cool-white LED lighting, which is the most energy-efficient, also appears to be the most ecologically unfriendly. Biologists, physicians and ecologists warn that blue-rich LED light disturbs the circadian day-and-night rhythm of living organisms, including humans, with potential negative health effects on individual species and whole ecosystems. Can the paradox be solved? This paper explores this question based on our transdisciplinary research project Light Pollution—A Global Discussion. It reveals how light pollution experts and lighting professionals see the challenges and potential of LED lighting from their different viewpoints. This expert feedback shows that “sustainable LED lighting” goes far beyond energy efficiency as it raises complex design issues that imply stakeholder negotiation. It also suggests that the LED paradox may be solved in context, but hardly in principle. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identifying, Examining, and Planning Areas Protected from Light Pollution. The Case Study of Planning the First National Dark Sky Park in Greece
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 5963; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11215963 - 26 Oct 2019
Abstract
Light pollution is a type of pollution that climaxes in cities and occurs increasingly away from them, due to the increase of artificial lighting and inappropriate lighting design (selection of luminaires, aiming, illuminance/luminance levels, and spectral characteristics). Increasingly, light pollution also affects the [...] Read more.
Light pollution is a type of pollution that climaxes in cities and occurs increasingly away from them, due to the increase of artificial lighting and inappropriate lighting design (selection of luminaires, aiming, illuminance/luminance levels, and spectral characteristics). Increasingly, light pollution also affects the countryside due to local lighting but also distant lighting propagating from urban areas. This has a significant impact on ecosystems and astronomical observing sites. This work analyzes the main facts about light pollution (causes, impact, and solutions) and studies the methods, parameters, and special requirements for planning of light pollution protected areas. This dark sky park planning methodology is implemented as a case study in mount Parnon which has been selected due to its significance as a Natura 2000 protected area and because it is Greece’s most popular astronomical observing site. Mount Parnon is located close to two major cities as well as significant highways, however the site itself remains dark due to its sparse population. Planning a dark sky park involves a complete study of facts regarding the specific site. Existing lighting installations are surveyed in detail by recording types of luminaires and lamps and recording their positions in a map. Lighting illuminance levels are measured by photometers and spectra are analyzed using a spectrometer. Sky brightness levels measurements are performed using specialized photometers and light pollution origins are traced using wide-field photography. Finally, a proposal is made for a dark sky park scheme suited to the specific case of the site. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Monitoring Long-Term Trends in the Anthropogenic Night Sky Brightness
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3070; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113070 - 31 May 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Monitoring long-term trends in the evolution of the anthropogenic night sky brightness is a demanding task due to the high dynamic range of the artificial and natural light emissions and the high variability of the atmospheric conditions that determine the amount of light [...] Read more.
Monitoring long-term trends in the evolution of the anthropogenic night sky brightness is a demanding task due to the high dynamic range of the artificial and natural light emissions and the high variability of the atmospheric conditions that determine the amount of light scattered in the direction of the observer. In this paper, we analyze the use of a statistical indicator, the mFWHM, to assess the night sky brightness changes over periods of time larger than one year. The mFWHM is formally defined as the average value of the recorded magnitudes contained within the full width at half-maximum region of the histogram peak corresponding to the scattering of artificial light under clear skies in the conditions of a moonless astronomical night (sun below −18°, and moon below −5°). We apply this indicator to the measurements acquired by the 14 SQM detectors of the Galician Night Sky Brightness Monitoring Network during the period 2015–2018. Overall, the available data suggest that the zenithal readings in the Sky Quality Meter (SQM) device-specific photometric band tended to increase during this period of time at an average rate of +0.09 magSQM/arcsec2 per year. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Observing the Impact of WWF Earth Hour on Urban Light Pollution: A Case Study in Berlin 2018 Using Differential Photometry
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 750; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030750 - 31 Jan 2019
Cited by 10
Abstract
Earth Hour is one of the most successful coordinated mass efforts worldwide to raise awareness of environmental issues, with excessive energy consumption being one driver of climate change. The campaign, first organized by the World Wildlife Fund in Australia in 2007, has grown [...] Read more.
Earth Hour is one of the most successful coordinated mass efforts worldwide to raise awareness of environmental issues, with excessive energy consumption being one driver of climate change. The campaign, first organized by the World Wildlife Fund in Australia in 2007, has grown across borders and cultures and was celebrated in 188 countries in 2018. It calls for voluntarily reduction of electricity consumption for a single hour of one day each year. Switching off non-essential electric lights is a central theme and resulted in 17,900 landmarks going dark in 2018. This switch-off of lights during Earth Hour also leads to reduction of light pollution for this specific period. In principle, Earth Hour allows the study of light pollution and the linkage to electricity consumption of lighting. However, quantitative analysis of the impact of Earth Hour on light pollution (and electricity consumption) are sparse, with only a few studies published showing no clear impact or the reverse, suffering from residual twilight and unstable weather conditions. In this work, light pollution measurements during Earth Hour 2018 in an urban park (Tiergarten) in Berlin, Germany, are reported. A novel light measurement method using differential photometry with calibrated digital cameras enables tracking of the switching off and switching back on of the lights of Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate and the buildings of Potsdamer Platz adjacent to the park. Light pollution reduction during the event was measurable, despite the presence of moonlight. Strategies for future work on light pollution using such events are discussed. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Light Pollution, Circadian Photoreception, and Melatonin in Vertebrates
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6400; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226400 - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
Artificial light at night (ALAN) is increasing exponentially worldwide, accelerated by the transition to new efficient lighting technologies. However, ALAN and resulting light pollution can cause unintended physiological consequences. In vertebrates, production of melatonin—the “hormone of darkness” and a key player in circadian [...] Read more.
Artificial light at night (ALAN) is increasing exponentially worldwide, accelerated by the transition to new efficient lighting technologies. However, ALAN and resulting light pollution can cause unintended physiological consequences. In vertebrates, production of melatonin—the “hormone of darkness” and a key player in circadian regulation—can be suppressed by ALAN. In this paper, we provide an overview of research on melatonin and ALAN in vertebrates. We discuss how ALAN disrupts natural photic environments, its effect on melatonin and circadian rhythms, and different photoreceptor systems across vertebrate taxa. We then present the results of a systematic review in which we identified studies on melatonin under typical light-polluted conditions in fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, including humans. Melatonin is suppressed by extremely low light intensities in many vertebrates, ranging from 0.01–0.03 lx for fishes and rodents to 6 lx for sensitive humans. Even lower, wavelength-dependent intensities are implied by some studies and require rigorous testing in ecological contexts. In many studies, melatonin suppression occurs at the minimum light levels tested, and, in better-studied groups, melatonin suppression is reported to occur at lower light levels. We identify major research gaps and conclude that, for most groups, crucial information is lacking. No studies were identified for amphibians and reptiles and long-term impacts of low-level ALAN exposure are unknown. Given the high sensitivity of vertebrate melatonin production to ALAN and the paucity of available information, it is crucial to research impacts of ALAN further in order to inform effective mitigation strategies for human health and the wellbeing and fitness of vertebrates in natural ecosystems. Full article
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