Signify (formerly Philips Lighting) completed its first bat-friendly lighting installation in a town. With the new connected LED street lights, rare bats in Zuidhoek-Nieuwkoop, in the Netherlands can now go about their nocturnal business undisturbed. Signify specifically designed the street lights to emit light that does not affect the bat’s natural senses and rhythms.
In fact, the bats perceive the special light emission as darkness. Despite this, the lights reportedly provide enough illumination for residents. The company claims that the lights help make the roads and pedestrian walkways safer while being highly energy efficient.
Respecting Plant and Animal Life in Zuidhoek-Nieuwkoop
Zuidhoek-Nieuwkoop serves as the home to many rare and vulnerable animal and plant species. The town and its surrounding area are part of the Natura 2000, a network of nature protection areas across Europe. The novel street lighting was an answer to research into the flora and fauna that showed the site to be a critical feeding ground for some rare bat species.
“Nieuwkoop is the first town in the world to use smart LED street lights that are designed to be friendly to bats. When developing our unique housing program our goal was to make the project as sustainable as possible, while preserving our local bat species with minimal impact to their habitat. We’ve managed to do this and kept our carbon footprint and energy consumption to a minimum,” said Guus Elkhuizen, City Council Member at Nieuwkoop municipality.
Signify, the University of Wageningen and the NGO Natura 2000 developed the particular light recipe through extensive research. The lights emit a red color at a wavelength that doesn’t interfere with a bat’s internal compass. Standard white light from regular street lights can affect a bat’s flight and nighttime behavior, and can also affect the behavior of their insect prey which tend to gather around the lights.
Using Light Only When Needed to Save Energy
For further optimize light level optimization, the municipality installed Signify’s Interact City-connected LED lighting systems and management software. This lighting management system enables close to real-time, remote management of LED light points.
The LED lighting together delivers energy savings of up to 70% compared to conventional High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) street lighting. The Internet connectivity allows each light point to be controlled remotely and lets the authorities respond to a resident request for turning up or lowering the brightness of the lighting outside their home.
Also, when the streets are empty, late at night, the authorities can dim the lights, cutting unnecessary energy use.Du