Parallel Ray Street Lamps Will Curb Light Pollution

LED design proposal that is a three-part lighting fixture could make a big impact on lowering the level of excess energy.

Ross Brooks
Ross Brooks on May 1, 2013. @greenidealism

Light pollution is a problem of which the effects are still not clear to most people. Excessive light can affect people’s sleeping patterns as well as the environment around them. To give you a better summary of the problem, here’s a great video we featured recently about the dangers of light pollution.

A big contributing factor to this problem is the current design of streetlights. They currently use high-pressure sodium or mercury lamps, spilling light in unwanted directions, producing glare, scattered light patterns and wasted energy. This can result in nearly half of the light being emitted – in the worst cases – going to waste.


Researchers at National Central University, Taiwan, and Unidad Academica de Fisica, Universidad Autonoma de Zacatecas, Mexico have created a LED design proposal that is a three-part lighting fixture. The first part contains a cluster of high-efficiency LEDs which use Total Internal Reflection (TIR) lenses, which gather light into parallel rays. These LEDs are housed inside a reflective casing which prevents light from being scattered, which also features a diffuser to reduce the glare of light being emitted.

As a way to determine the efficiency of this vs. the old design, the team measured the spread of light over 10 meters. This Optical Utilisation Factor (OUF) was recorded between 51-81 percent vs. the old design which scored 45 percent.

The team says a working prototype could be ready in three to six months, with installations following shortly after.

TOPICS: Design & Architecture, Electronics & Gadgets, Environmental / Green
Ross Brooks

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Ross is a freelance writer who specializes in topics about the environment, architecture, art, design and creative tech. He is passionate about making a difference with his writing, whether that’s to encourage social change, promote a great idea, or just share a little bit of beauty with the world. You can also find his work on Inhabitat and