Scientists in the States are suggesting that bright city lights exacerbate pollution.
Their research indicates that the glare thrown up into the sky interferes with chemical reactions that would normally help clean the air during the night of the fumes emitted by cars and factories during the day.
The study will no doubt lend extra weight to the arguments of ‘dark skies’ campaigners who want to be able to clearly see the stars in towns and cities again.
Star gazing’s all well and good of course, but this finding also adds to the bigger picture where energy saving is concerned.
It’s worth remembering that last year, total UK domestic carbon emission from lighting was 10 million tonnes CO2, or seven percent of total CO2 emissions. That’s hard to ignore.
In the average home, lighting accounts for around 20 percent of the electricity bill, and in 2010, UK households spent around £2.3billion on electricity to run their lighting.
Our lighting habits are changing for the better. These days 93 percent of people have energy saving light bulbs, 84 percent say turning off lights is becoming normal in their home, and only 17 percent of people admit to often leaving the lights on when not in a room – but of course, that’s still 17 percent too many.
If everyone in the UK turned off their lights when they left the room or didn’t need them, we would save around £165million from our bills a year and 670,000 tonnes of CO2.
If every UK household installed just one extra energy saving lightbulb, the CO2 saved would be equivalent to taking around 73,000 cars off the roads. Fit all the lights in your house with energy saving bulbs and you could save around £45 a year and £670 over the lifetime of all of the bulbs.
So whether you love your lights, hate pollution, or just want to gaze at the stars, the benefits of being brighter about lighting definitely stack up. Just don’t expect your house to clean itself overnight.