Heroux-Devtek of Kitchener recently switched to LED lights without being aware of the environmental impacts it would have. Then they fixed the problem.

Most are familiar with land, water and air pollution but few know that artificial light at night can also be a pollutant to our environment.

Heroux-Devtek, an aerospace company in Kitchener, Ontario, had changed its outside lights to LED in May of 2018. The new LEDs were much brighter and installed into old style wallpack fixtures that did not properly shield and direct the light down.

Heroux-Devtek LED light pollution - before
An LED wallpack light that is not shieled creates glare, safety issues and contributes to light pollution of our night environment.

Switching to LED is not automatically environmentally friendly. In fact researchers have found LED lights to be harming our night environment. Quite the opposite of what the lighting industry and politicians often promote.

In the case of Heroux-Devtek, the lights are bright white (5000K), rich in blue light, which are the worst type of LED to use. Not only do they pollute our night time, disrupting natural eco-systems, but they also more easily create disability and discomfort glare as well as safety issues. 

Being an advocate for the environment and better lighting, I wrote a letter to the company explaining the problem and asking for their help in protecting our night environment. I also asked for them to be a good neighbour within their community by correcting the lighting issues.

It was a couple months that had passed when I noticed Heroux-Devtek had installed hoods (shields) on all of their outside wallpack lights. This made a world a difference and improvement. In fact, shielding lights is a simple way to reduce light pollution, next to turning off lights over night – which also saves energy.

 I’ve since wrote the company again thanking them for their initiative in fixing some of their lighting problems. Great to see a company acting as a good corporate citizen within Kitchener.

Below are some before and after photos…

LED wallpack light unshielded.
BEFORE: An LED wallpack light with no shielding.
AFTER: The same LED wallpack light but now shielded and directing the light down where it's needed.

Businesses should evaluate their light pollution footprint just as they would their energy use and recycling policies. Protecting our night environment and night sky from light pollution (skyglow) and the damage it is doing has become a race against time for many advocates like myself trying to create change for the better.

Once again I would like to thank Heroux-Devtek for making the changes they did to their outside lights. Perhaps more business in Kitchener-Waterloo can do the same. Politicians can help by promoting positive change like this. We all need a healthy night time in order to enjoy a healthy daytime environment.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below!

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