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How Many US Navy Sailors Does It Take to Change an LED?

To preserve its status as the world’s best, the US military must remain efficient and keep its maintenance costs as low as possible. There are a number of ways to do this; one they’ve recently discovered is to upgrade and replace outdated lighting sources. Tens of thousands of US businesses and homeowners have already made this shift; now the Navy is climbing on board.

LED Lighting: The Clear Choice for the US Navy

US Naval bases all over the world are currently making the switch from fluorescent lighting to LED lighting. Not only will the LED upgrade make the Navy’s ocean-based operations more environmentally friendly, it will save them a boatload of money as well. In fact, the Navy is projected to save hundreds of millions of dollars over the next several years.

There are a number of other motivations for this historic change. For one thing, the new LED bulbs are far easier to install, replace, and dispose of. They are also cheaper to manufacture and safer to handle during installation and replacement. The intrinsic benefits of LEDs will likely make them the standard lighting choice for all branches of the US military.

Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Kerik Vargas switches his lights to high efficient light bulbs as part of an energy conservation initiative at Commander, Navy Region Hawaii (CNRH).

Navy Ships Receive the LED Treatment

The exciting and revolutionary impact of LED lighting is being realized for naval bases and beyond. After all, we’re talking about the Navy hereno major change would be complete if it didn’t include their world-renowned array of cruisers, destroyers, and aircraft carriers. The Navy will use LED lighting to illuminate not only their bases, but their ships as well.

The payoffs of switching to LED lighting are no huge mystery. The Navy ships that have switched to LEDs have already saved 3% of their yearly energy costsa tidy sum of $150 million. In addition, the new LED lights are expected to last up to 50,000 hours, which is more than seven times longer than the old fluorescent lights. Whether by land or by sea, LEDs have become the preferred lighting choice of the US Navy. What about you?

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New Study Shows Crime Rates Unaffected By Night Lighting

Many cities have invested in significant upgrades to street lighting, converting to energy efficient LED and solar powered fixtures in an effort to save money and power. In some places, the local government has resorted to turning off the night time street lighting entirely. There are those who believe that this is an unacceptable option for conserving resources, citing an increase in traffic accidents and crime as a reason to keep the lights on. A new study from the University of London School of Medicine, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, has called this correlation into question, concluding that there is no relationship between increased street lighting and less crime.

Research Casts Shadows on Conventional Wisdom

Night lighting in cities consumes a lot of energy, and the light pollution from heavily populated areas has a detrimental impact on the environment. Municipalities assume that the financial and environmental costs of lighting are a necessary evil in order to reduce crime and prevent automobile collisions. Only recently have local governments, who may not be able to afford LED Amber upgrades, been scaling back their night lighting for both cost and environmental reasons. The choice to turn off the lights has often been portrayed as a somber sacrifice in safety.

The 2015 study indicates that this may, in fact, be a false portrayal of the situation. Researchers looked at data on road traffic collisions and crime in 62 cities in England and Wales where authorities had turned the lights off, dimmed the lights, turned them off intermittently, or substituted the lamps with low-power LEDs. They found that reduced lighting had no effect on crime or accident rates.

The University of London’s study is consistent with other recent research. A 2011 study, focusing on London, found no correlation between street lighting and safety. A 1997 report to the United States Congress by the National Institute of Justice reached the same conclusion. A further study, conducted by the City of Chicago in 2000, showed that bad outdoor lighting can actually contribute to crime rates; while a 2012 report by the American Medical Association concluded that glare from unshielded lights can decrease safety for drivers.

Fear of the Dark: Addressing Public Concerns

Increased lighting may not increase safety, but it does affect the perception of safety. City dwellers out at night understandably feel that they need stronger lighting to travel safely. Residents in some cities have expressed concern when night lighting was dimmed or eliminated to save money.

To address these concerns, community leaders must engage in outreach with residents so that they understand the basis for any street lighting plan. Residents are less likely to object to such changes if they are consulted up front and given reasons supported by facts to explain the locality’s plan of action.

It is also important to note that reducing outdoor lighting does not mean eliminating night lighting entirely. Many of the councils under study had replaced traditional lighting with energy saving measures such as amber LED lights. These lights are dimmer but still provide sufficient illumination for pedestrians and drivers alike; and their low, familiar orange glow cannot be seen by nocturnal species. City leaders can apply common sense to provide adequate visibility at night and at the same time reduce unnecessary glare by installing fully shielded or cutoff fixtures wherever applicable.

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