Get your outdoor lighting right and save our local wildlife
Do you ever look up and think there were more stars in the sky when you were a kid? Well that’s because light pollution – the brightening of the night sky by artificial light – is washing out the dark.
Late last year, the inner west council signed a contract to systematically replace streetlights in residential streets with new LED lights, investing $2.8 million over the next two years to replace the older fluorescent lamps — many of which were installed decades ago. More than 4600 streetlights will be replaced, reducing light pollution to the night sky by more than 90 per cent.
Light pollution is caused by stray light leaking from poorly designed or angled lighting installations. Light spills outside the area it’s meant to illuminate, wasting energy and money, causing a nuisance to neighbours and star gazers… but also our local wildlife.
For billions of years, life has relied on the rhythm of night and day and our native critters are understandably confused. Male frogs who wait until dusk to call for a mate are missing out on their summer lovin’, while nocturnal birds such as our owls, nightjars and spring cuckoos, are wandering off course without the moon to guide them.
It’s not just city infrastructure or big business that’s at fault. Come summer we’re all looking at ways to light up the garden, deck, terrace or outdoor rooms. But the good news is you don’t have to compromise on your outdoor entertaining to do your bit for the night sky, as light pollution is one of the easiest types of pollution to rectify. Here’s how:
- Forget feature trees. Place your outdoor lighting high up and aim it downwards instead of up. This helps prevent stray light entering the atmosphere. Light bouncing off the ground provides plentiful illumination.
- Choose intelligently designed, low glare products and lights with globe caps and shields.
- Install motion detector lights that turn on when they sense movement and place these on garden paths, near garages and around dark corners.
- Use smart lighting kits that can be programmed through your phone, allowing a pinpoint level of efficiency.
- Pull down the blinds, close the shutters, draw the curtains. If you’re having a party, keep the light inside. Dim the switches to protect the night sky and add a bit of extra ambience.
Want to stare up at your very own patch of sky in the inner west? Let us help you find a home here.
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