We are all by now familiar with the benefits of LED lighting—for a business LED lighting can save upwards of 30-70% on the lighting portion of the business’s electric bill.
LEDs are unbelievably energy efficient, they last a very long time, they contain no mercury or substances that require special disposal or would be harmful to the environment. And they reduce maintenance costs significantly.
But have you realized how versatile LED lights can be. They come in every shape and size you can imagine. In fact, many cities and neighborhoods around the country are getting creative with what they are doing with their street lighting.
However, you will see in the news about LED street lights that certain “health risks” are being reported. When you Google LED street lights you can read how LED street lights are keeping people awake and interrupting circadian rhythms,1 resulting in potentially alarming health situations. This is easily avoided and handled. A city or neighborhood designer of the street lights can not only choose decorative lighting as shown in this article but can and should choose the correct color temperature of the lights. So this generally alarming news statement about street lights causing health risks is not at all a problem when certain facts are understood.
Low color temperature is the warmer looking, more yellow to red light; high color temperature is the colder, bluer light. Daylight has a lower color temperature near dawn and a higher one during the day. The term “cool” light can be hard to understand because it is the “higher” color temperature. The word “cool” when applied to light is not referring to the temperature of the light, it is referring to the look of the light. It is bluer, like water or ice—cooler looking.
The standard unit of measurement for color temperature is “Kelvin (K).”
Here’s an example of how you can relate Kelvin to actual lighting:
- Candles or oil lamps are about 1,000 K
- Household light bulbs are about 2,500 K
- Bright sunshine on a clear day is about 6,000 K
Here’s a great chart to help understand Kelvin:
Choosing LED lighting for street lights should be done with the following advice in mind so the lighting job gets done and the lighting does not create health risks of any kind. In fact this advice comes from the AMA. The AMA recommends that outdoor lighting at night, particularly street lighting, should have a color temperature not greater than 3,000 K.
A color temperature of 4,000 K or 5,000 K contains more blue light—but this light is harsher and is the lighting that can produce what’s called light pollution2. Because these color temperatures have the same color temperature as daylight, it can also make it difficult to sleep. It cues the body that it’s time to get up when you are trying to get to sleep.
The solution can be simple and beautiful and incredibly energy efficient!
If you are a city planner, a neighborhood organizer, or anyone who wants to upgrade street lighting to LED, call me and I’ll go over your specific situation with you—I promise there is a beautiful solution for you: 844-277-0043 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.