Respecting Wildlife with Responsible Lighting Design

Lighting pic
 Lighting pic
Lighting
Image: phys.org

William Pino, a Miami-based entrepreneur and businessman, has over 35 years of experience applying his electrical engineering training to municipal outdoor lighting projects. The effect of light pollution on sea turtles is a concern in Miami and other coastal areas, and William Pino has supported environmentally friendly, energy-efficient designs that consider animals’ sensitivity to artificial light.

Scientists have determined that the brightness and glare of artificial lighting can be disorienting to sea turtle hatchlings that are trying to find their way back into the ocean. Instinct directs small sea turtles toward the brightest light on the horizon, historically moonlight reflecting off the ocean. As inland lighting continues to increase, however, the hatchlings can easily become confused and wander in the wrong direction.

Many counties in Florida have passed lighting ordinances to regulate artificial lighting on beaches. These ordinances prohibit the use of bright, white lights such as metal halide, fluorescent, mercury vapor, and incandescent bulbs. Instead, fixtures must utilize low-pressure sodium bulbs, true red neon, or LED bulbs using red, orange, or amber light.

Experts suggest that beachfront property owners do their part by taking the following precautions:

– Turn off any unnecessary lights, and avoid outdoor decorative lighting.

– Face lights away from the beach, and use shields or flashing to keep light off the beach.

– Use directional fixtures rather than lights that provide general ambient lighting.

– Use bulbs with the lowest wattage possible.

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