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Light Pollution in Dublin Causes, Effects and Possible Solutions

Light Pollution in Dublin Causes, Effects and Possible Solutions

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An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Elaine O' Keefee. Originally submitted for Project at Dublin Institute of Technology, with lecturer Dr. Anthony Reynolds in the category of Engineering & Mechanical Sciences
An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Elaine O' Keefee. Originally submitted for Project at Dublin Institute of Technology, with lecturer Dr. Anthony Reynolds in the category of Engineering & Mechanical Sciences

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 29, 2012
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11/20/2013

 
Light Pollution in DublinCauses, Effects and Possible Solutions
Elaine O’ Keeffe
Honours Degree in Mechanical EngineeringDIT Bolton Street, Dublin 1May 2011
 
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1
 
ABSTRACT
Light pollution in the greater Dublin area, specifically light pollution created by streetlights is the main focus of this work. The purpose was to examine the existing streetlighting system in Dublin with respect to the light pollution generated andenvironmental and economic costs, and to investigate potential alternative lightsystems such as LED and Induction lamps which may be more cost beneficial. Allsystems were thoroughly investigated regarding their costs, both economic andenvironmental. Cost benefit analysis was used to determine the viability of thesealternative systems.
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INTRODUCTION
Light pollution, also known as photo pollution or luminous pollution, is excessive orobtrusive artificial light. It is a side effect of industrial civilization and in urban areasseverally restricts our ability to see the night sky as shown in Figure 1. Sources includebuilding exterior and interior lighting, commercial properties, illuminated sportingvenues and streetlights. Interest for the protection of the night sky is growing rapidlywith many organisations now aiming to limit light pollution worldwide.
Figure 1 Map of Earth at night
(Source: Earth Observatory, NASA, 1995)
The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) defines light pollution as
“Any adverse
effect of artificial light including sky glow, glare, light trespass and light clutter,
decreased visibility at night and energy waste.” 
 
[1] There is no legal or officialdefinition for light pollution. The first published definition of light pollution appearedin a 2000 issue of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and classifies lightpollution as
“alteration of natural light lev 
els in the outdoor environment owing to
artificial light sources.” 
[2]Light pollution is a man-made problem, much like CO
2
emissions or noise pollution andas such can therefore be solved. Light pollution problems fall into three broadcategories: ecological, human and economic. This thesis will mainly be concerned with
 
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the economics of light pollution but ecological and environmental problems will alsobe assessed.The economic problems of light pollution involve the costs associated with runningefficient outdoor lighting. Figure 2. illustrates basic light pollution terminology.
Figure 2 Light pollution terminology
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MAIN AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
The aim of this work was to research and analyse light pollution in the greater Dublin area,specifically light pollution created by street lights. This thesis will discuss the feasibility of replacing the existing street lighting design/system with a more sustainable option with theaim to reduce the effects of light pollution and provide environmental, social and economicbenefits to the area.
The objectives of this project were as follows:
o
 
Undertake background research of light pollution and its effects on society, andthe environment.
o
 
Compile data on current lighting systems in use in the Dublin area includingtechnical specifications and efficiency, operating costs, and carbon emissions
o
 
Undertake a Case study on the “EnviroSmart Streetlighting” programme
implemented in Calgary, Alberta, Canada
o
 
Undertake research into alternative environmentally friendly lighting systems,including pros and cons, costs and carbon emissions, that could be used in theDublin area
o
 
Examine the application of the most sustainable option for Dublin
o
 
Undertake a cost benefit analysis on the most sustainable option
o
 
Recommend specific solutions to mitigate light pollution in the Dublin area

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