Smart Street Lighting Benefits Night-time Pollinators

By March 25, 2021 No Comments

Another Ecological Impact Reduced

Street lights play a vital role in modern society today. They illuminate the dark paths at night, and as a result, they prevent accidents and increase human safety. They also offer a sense of security to human beings, as most of us are afraid of the dark. Street lights have indeed become an indispensable part of cities across the globe.

Although a major component of any modern society, street lights are also known to be a cardinal contributor to energy wastage, carbon emissions and light pollution.

Switching off the street lights completely to save energy, reduce carbon footprint and curb light pollution is not an option; however, dimming the street lights, especially when no one is around, is certainly possible and beneficial.

Smart street lighting, which consists of motion sensors and light controllers, dims the street lights and offers true light-on-demand, minimizing the energy consumption, CO2 emissions and light pollution, all without compromising human safety.

Intelligent lighting could also have a positive impact on nocturnal pollinators, and our planet’s ecosystem in general! As per the recent research, turning off or dimming the lights even for just some hours is sufficient enough to restore the natural behavior of moths at night.

Moths, Pollination & Night Lighting

Moths play an important role (which is often overlooked) in the pollination of plants, including the essential food crops such as rapeseed, soybean, and peas. This lepidoptera, to some extent, carries out the same work at night as the bees and other pollinating insects do during the day time.

Night lighting, however, disrupts the nocturnal pollination carried out by moths. Artificial light at night, attracts the moths towards it, away from the fields and plants. As a result, moths spend less time feeding, eventually affecting the pollination process.

In a recent study, published in the Ecosphere, experts from York and Newcastle Universities discovered that the pollination success in the part-night lighting scenario is no different than from full darkness. In other words, if street lights are turned off (which is undesirable in most parts) or dimmed (which is possible and practical), especially when humans aren’t around, they will cause no disruption to the nocturnal pollination process specifically and damage to the ecosystem in general.

Controlling Street Lights

Conventional street lights certainly cause light pollution. And, light pollution definitely affects human and wildlife. Advancements in the lighting technology, however, have today enabled local authorities to control street lights remotely.

Intelligent street lighting has motion sensors, lighting controls, IoT modules (energy meters, CCTV, etc.) and a light management software suite through which local authorities can collect valuable information, such as public activity and illumination level, and control street lights remotely as per the requirements.

Controlling street lights as per the specific requirements means reducing energy consumption, lowering CO2 emissions, and most importantly, curbing light pollution. Controlling street lighting remotely, i.e., dimming the street lights or turning them off completely, specifically in those areas where they are not needed during a particular time frame, also means that nocturnal pollinators can efficiently carry out the pollination process and do good for the ecosystem.

Bottom line

Street lights are essential in human society. Every night, they illuminate the streets, and in turn, prevent accidents and increase the safety for humans. Street lights, however, are also a major source of energy wastage, carbon emission and light pollution, particularly when (and where) they are not needed. Turning off the street lights to address these issues is not desirable but dimming them is possible and advantageous.

Smart street lighting is a sensible technology, and cities must indeed embrace it, especially if they want to contribute towards both urban society and mother nature. Intelligent lighting solutions like from Tvilight, help save energy, lower carbon footprint and cut light pollution without compromising human safety and satisfaction. In addition, they also help create a solid base where cities can easily integrate third-party IoT devices and applications to further benefit the citizens.

Finally, because intelligent lighting enables the cities to control street lights remotely and lower light pollution, it will benefit nocturnal pollinators to carry out the pollination of essential plants efficiently and help preserve the earth’s ecosystem.

Adopting intelligent lighting is a win-win scenario for the cities where they save energy and money without compromising citizen safety, and at the same time, help our nocturnal wildlife thrive.


TVILIGHT B.V. is a European market leader specialized in sensors, wireless lighting controls, and a complete portfolio of street lighting management software – to manage, monitor, operate and maintain citywide public lighting infrastructure. Our smart lighting platform and Open API allow integration to city’s preferred software platform and thus constitute an open, reliable and future-proof base for Smart Cities and the Internet of Things. The company has installed over 300 projects globally across 20 countries, including iconic cities and critical infrastructure around the world. Tvilight’s international projects include Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Dutch Railways, Port of Moerdijk, Seoul, Beijing, as well as some of the largest German cities such as Düren, Münster, Cologne, Dortmund, and Berlin.

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