Houston's high glare LED street lights are a danger to night vision and health.
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ABOVE: THE RIGHT LED, WARM WHITE, LOW GLARE, ONLY 17 WATTS IN RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CA DOES THE JOB OF 45 WATT RESIDENTIAL STREET LIGHTING IN HOUSTON
Cities everywhere are rightly recognizing the promise of LED street and security lighting to reduce energy costs and save the environment by reducing the carbon footprint. But the choice of an overly bright white bulb is counterproductive. Remember Jimmy Stewart in the Hitchcock movie "Rear Window?" He used bright white light to blind his attacker, not help him see! A Brooklyn resident said new white LED's just like ours made it feel like the aliens have landed just outside his home. The glare disturbs residents trying to enjoy their homes at night, is uncomfortable for pedestrians and drivers, and uses more energy than today's new warmer LED's installed at the best intensity for good night vision which can save 30% to 50% more in energy costs. When glare hits the eye, you can't see all the light put out by the luminaire. We are paying for twice the energy to see only half the light!
Houston plans to replace all 176,000 street lights with high glare white LED's. But recent testing has shown that citizens strongly prefer warm white LED street lights at reduced intensity wherever they have been tried and report that the street appears better lit. Glare is the enemy of night vision for everyone and even more so for older residents.
Furthermore, the American Medical Association published a paper in June strongly urging cities to reject street lights with too much blue in the spectrum both because they reduce visibility and they interfere with natural melatonin production at night needed for good sleep quality. Melatonin has been shown to reduce the growth rate of certain cancers including breast and prostate. Cancer rates are higher in brightly lit areas and higher for night shift workers who sleep during the day. We need light at night, but it is harmful to live in daylight 24/7. Cities that have already listened to the AMA: Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Washington DC, Phoenix, Tucson, San Francisco, San Diego, Columbus, Montreal, many communities in Connecticut and Massachusetts, the entire state of Georgia! We request the following:
1. PAUSE the installation of the current white 4000K LED street light choice.
2. CONSULT with cities that are successfully transitioning to warm white LED's instead including Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, Chicago, Tucson, and San Francisco. The photo above is "after" a street put in the conversion we desire, a warm white shielded LED with much better visibility and less glare! And color rendition is still adequate enough to satisfy crime fighters.
3. SAVE even more money on energy costs.
4. ENCOURAGE the use of non glare security lighting through an education campaign or lighting ordinance so the intended target is better lit and drivers and homeowners will not be blinded by the light.
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