You may have read the recent Rosara blog post about our lighting ethos and the approach we take in creating effective – yet environmentally friendly – lighting. If you haven’t yet read part 1, you can find it here. This week, we consider the impact garden lighting has on the environment in more depth.
It's no secret that humans are lighting up the planet. Artificially created light is essential to keep us moving after sunset, reduce crime and increase our feeling of security. Particularly as winter draws in and the days get shorter, imagining our world without being able to light our way on-demand paints a very gloomy picture and would call for some very early bedtimes! But what is the real impact of lighting? Have you considered it?
Light pollution is defined as the ‘inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light’ and ‘can have serious environmental consequences for humans, wildlife, and our climate’. There are 3 major types of light pollution:
- Glare – excessive brightness that is too overpowering
- Light trespass – light falling where it is not intended or needed
- Skyglow – brightening the night sky over inhabited areas
In rural areas, such as the local Oxfordshire villages (including our own beautiful North Aston!), the impact of glare and light trespass is much less than that of our city counterparts. However, it is always worth challenging the need for overly bright room lights and, where possible, opt for smaller, lower wattage side lights instead. We have a beautiful range of subtle interior lighting in our shop, selected for this very purpose, and worth a look if you are passing by!
In contrast to glare and light trespass, which we are less exposed to in the rolling countryside, skyglow is a concern across almost every region of the UK. It is estimated that 80% of the world's population now lives under skyglow. This doesn’t just affect humans, but also has a massive impact on wildlife. Many of us will have been moved by the Attenborough footage on Planet Earth II of baby sea turtles becoming disorientated and heading towards street or building lights instead of the moon, meeting a sad fate on the roads alongside the sand. Though we are devoid of beaches in our local area, this well-known example shows the very real confusion that animals experience at the hands of us lighting our way when the sun has gone to bed.
A little closer to home, I remember having a conversation with my brother when he returned home after living in a big city, and he was ecstatic about the thought of seeing the moon and stars again. They were simply not visible where he lived. However, without taking steps to change our habits, the impact of skyglow may even reach our most rural areas, creating havoc and distress to our wildlife. With the estimated 6% a year increase in skyglow, these issues are only going to worsen over time if action is not taken.
To reduce the negative impact your lighting is having on the wildlife around you, there are several factors to consider. The colour of the light, its strength and brightness, how many watts are being used and the placement of the beams are all worth taking into account. A little consideration of all these aspects will make a huge difference to the garden wildlife, without taking away from the style and impact of your lighting scheme. Last week we emphasised our love of subtle lighting, taking the ‘less is more’ approach to create a tasteful ambience that is both better for animals and less disturbing for any nearby neighbours!
At Rosara, we have developed an environmentally sympathetic range of LED Garden Lighting which, at 3000 Kelvin, emits a warm white light. These are more wildlife and human-friendly, and overall have a much smaller carbon footprint than their brighter, higher-Kelvin counterparts. Their drivers are incredibly long-life, and their bulbs have a 30-year life span, so as well as helping the environment, think of all the time saved from changing lightbulbs! On average, these use only 15% of the power required by 240V and we can now light an entire garden with as little 20 watts.
You can browse our Rosara lighting range here, or pop into our showroom to discuss your lighting needs in more detail
Chris Ash - Rosara Assistant