Could THIS be the Future of Street Lights?

We’ve come a long way from the time when the Romans used oil lamps in front of their houses to light the way. Today, in some cities, up to 38% of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions are due to street and public lighting. Studies have suggested that this can be cut by a significant 60% with more energy-efficient technologies, such as LED lighting. (Source.)

Yet, the future needs more solutions that consumes less and less energy, or at least does more on the same amount. From an art installation in the Netherlands comes an idea to that effect. The Afsluitdijk is a 32 kilometre causeway, over a dyke that runs from Den Oever to the village of Zurich. The Dutch government commissioned Studio Roosegaarde to help highlight the importance of the dyke–protection from the force of sea and facilitating mobility.

The result is the Gates of Light, a restoration of the 60 original floodgate structures built in 1932. The structures were restored and embellished with a retro-reflective layer. As cars pass by, the light from the headlamps is reflected off this innovative material, and the structures “light up”, bringing the otherwise dark stretch of the causeway to life.

“This way of using light requires zero energy and does not contribute to light pollution,” the design studio stated on its website.

Studio Roosegaarde is famous for its installations that bring awareness to sustainability, such as the Van Gogh Path made from stones that absorbs the sun’s energy in the day and, in the dark of the night, glows for up to eight hours. The effect is reminiscent of the eponymous painter’s The Starry Night.

Sustainable ways to light the way and are beautiful at the same time? We like the idea very much.


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