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14 November 2023 | Theme story

Dark skies, bright future

Light pollution is a growing problem worldwide, affecting animals and plants. Fortunately, non-profit organisations such as the United States-based DarkSky International and light manufacturers around the world are working on solutions to reduce the negative effects of outdoor artificial lighting on the ecosystem.

For billions of years, life on Earth, meaning all living things, has relied on the daily light/dark cycle. However, scientific evidence shows that we humans have radically disrupted this cycle by artificially illuminating the night and dark days, with harmful and even deadly effects on many creatures and plants. The International Dark-Sky Association, a globally recognised authority, is now cracking down on this, working with members from 70 countries to combat nighttime light pollution with strict guidelines. Companies such as renowned German light manufacturer BEGA are complying with this regulatory system to protect the ecosystem and counteract overexposure.

“We are convinced that there is too much light in the world,” says Thomas Van Brantegem, a BEGA expert in Belgium. “Likewise, the quality of this light is less than optimal. Our ambition is to be a game changer, with architectural lighting that meets DarkSky’s most stringent requirements and produces less stray light. Every light source must have a clear purpose and be reconcilable with the nature of the environment, whether it is an industrial area, a village, a city or a natural area. We can illuminate the light or light source as and when necessary, directing it where it is needed, thanks to efficient lighting technology. DarkSky enforces a strict BUG rating, with BUG standing for backlight, uplight and glare. The colour temperature of LED lighting also plays a crucial part in minimising disruptions to the ecosystem. Decreasing blue light exposure is vital, especially at night. Light with a colour temperature of 1800 Kelvin, similar to the glow of warm candlelight, is recommended so as not to disturb nocturnal animals and insects.”

“Many sites are gradually obtaining DarkSky certification,” Van Brantegem adds, “so this is definitely a step in the right direction. Compared with Belgium, other European countries, such as Italy, France and Germany, already have a head-start in terms of light pollution. As a lighting specialist, we are trying to raise awareness among design offices and architects about the impact of responsible outdoor lighting.”

About NOA:

NOA outdoor living is an experience park for outdoor design in Kruisem. In the theme gardens, you can find inspiration to decorate your garden. These gardens combine architecture, landscape, and interior, and welcome architects, landscape architects, designers, and contractors as well as private prospects. In this inspiration park, you will find luxurious garden furniture and designs by more than 30 high-end partners, who are happy to advise you as you bring your dream garden to life. Moreover, the park is the perfect professional networking location; the conference rooms, covered patio, spacious showroom, and plaza of NOA outdoor living are the ideal setting for your conference, product presentation, or product launch.

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