Dutch town installs bat-friendly LED street lights

Posted By : Enaie Azambuja
Dutch town installs bat-friendly LED street lights

Signify has completed its first bat-friendly lighting installation in a town. Rare bats in Zuidhoek-Nieuwkoop, in the Netherlands can now go about their nocturnal business undisturbed thanks to connected LED street lights designed specially to emit light that does not affect their natural senses and rythms. The street lights use a special light recipe that is perceived by bats as darkness, yet which provides enough illumination for residents, helping make the roads and pavements safer, while being highly energy efficient.

Zuidhoek-Nieuwkoop is home to many rare and vulnerable animal and plant specs. The town and its surrounding area is part of the Natura 2000, a network of nature protection areas across Europe comprising breeding and nesting sites for rare and threatened species.

In 2011, Nieuwkoop embarked upon an initiative to build 89 new houses that meet the highest sustainability standards. The street lighting was a response to research into the flora and fauna that revealed the site to be an important 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 Councel Member at Nieuwkoop municipality.

So as not to disturb the nocturnal feeding and nighttime activity of the bats, a special light recipe was developed that involved extensive research by Signify, the University of Wageningen and NGO's active in this field of conservation.

The lights emit a red color and use a wavelength that doesn't interfere with a bat's internal compass. Normal street lights can affect a bat's flight and overall night time behavior as well as their insect prey which tend to congregate around the lights.

To further optimise light levels, the municipality installed Signify's Interact City connected LED lighting systems and management softwareThis lighting management system enables close to real-time, remote management of LED light points that together provide energy savings of up to 70% compared to conventional High Pressure Sodium (HPS) street lighting.

By being connected, the system allows each light point to be controlled remotely, enabling the authorities to respond to a request from a resident to turn up or lower the brightness of the lighting outside their home and able to quickly raise the light levels in the area to aid emergency services. And when the streets are empty very late at night, the authorities can dim the lights and cut unnecessary energy use.

Signify became the company name of Philips Lighting as of 16th May, 2018.


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