hydro one transformer station in Kitchener that converted to white LED and was creating light pollution and skyglow
I took this photo late 2016 to document how the conversion to full spectrum white LED lighting by Hydro One, was increasing light pollution and skyglow in Kitchener. The new LED fixtures were also not properly shielded which added to the problem by allowing uplight into the night sky (wasted energy) and light spill to the sides (glare) which also was contributing to the overall problem.

Good news in the battle to reduce environmental light pollution!

I have received confirmation April 28th, 2017 from Hydro One (Ontario) on changes to their lighting at the Detweiler transformation station (ward 7) in Kitchener.

After 8 months of work (starting back in Sept 2016) of emails, phone conversations and after review of the science I submitted to them, Hydro One has agreed and recognizes the need to make changes to their 2016 upgrade of 5000K LED lights at this transformer station.

Hydro One will be changing the 5000K LEDs to 3000K (in line with the Region of Waterloo LED conversion). In addition they will be adding full shielding to the fixtures to control uplight and low angle glare/light spill to the sides. The current fixtures did not provide proper shielding.

Hydro One transformer station new LED lights creating massive amount of skyglow and light pollution.
The problem associated with white light LED (4000K, 5000K) becomes evident at a distance. I took the photo above late 2016 to document how the LED conversion at this Hydro One transformer station was not environmentally friendly but was actually creating light pollution and contributing to disruption of our night environment.

My contact at Hydro One wrote this past Friday: confirmation that Hydro One will be replacing the existing 5000K LED exterior lights at the Detweiler T.S. with 3000K LED light with full visor/shield.  The new light fixtures have already been ordered”  and Hydro One that it intends to incorporate the use of 3000K LED lights (as opposed to 5000K LED lights) into future construction/upgrades of transformer stations.”

Switching to LED, like 4000K or 5000K, does not automatically mean it is environmentally friendly. Hydro One staff originally believed this false notion themselves and conveyed to me the energy and GHG reductions associated with their LED upgrade. This is of course not true when creating new environmental problems through the misuse of full spectrum white light LED. As with most technologies, there are good and bad types of LED lighting, and good and bad ways of using them.

This change will first begin at the Glasgow St, Kitchener Deitweiler transformer station which was the focus of my initial contact with them after seeing the changes made there and additional high intensity LEDs added. These changes/improvements, as I am told, will filter through the rest of their Ontario wide operation for future LED upgrades as well which is a big deal IMO, considering this is Hydro One and they have acknowledged the light pollution problem they created.

I am very pleased and appreciate the cooperation of Hydro One on this matter and seeing these changes will be made. It speaks volumes to have a large corporation like Hydro One recognize the importance of our night environment and how we can negatively impact it by implementing new technologies the wrong way. Unintentional or not.

These changes by Hydro One work to help reduce and mitigate light pollution in the city of Kitchener. We still have a long way to go though.

My work continues.

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