Innovation That Matters

Bat-friendly lighting | Photo source Igam Ogam on Unsplash

Dutch town implements new bat-friendly street lighting


A sustainable housing development in the Netherlands uses a new smart street lighting system that works on a wavelength that is comfortable for a rare species of bats.

In the Netherlands, a sustainable housing development in Zuidhoek, Nieuwkoop, uses bat-friendly street lighting. The area is part of the Nieuwkoopse Plassen, which is a designated part of Europe’s Natura 2000. The Natura 2000 network provides rare and threatened species with protected resting and breeding sites. Maintaining essential natural habitats helps to accomplish this. Nieuwkoop is an important feeding ground for the pipistrelle bat species. So the collection of 89 new homes seeks to live in harmony with them. Human presence greatly affects bats through the use of lighting at night. Bats prefer complete darkness.

In developing the area, the Zuidhoek team partnered with smart lighting company Signify. Signify’s solution uses a new type of warmer orange colored light. The light provides the same amount of brightness as traditional bright yellow or white street lamps. However, bats cannot see the wavelength in the new designs, allowing them to hunt in complete safety and in the full width and breadth of their territory. The new street lighting system is also connected for smarter management. The housing development team schedules on and off times to match natural day and night times. And now, when something breaks, the system provides an alert allowing for faster and more responsive repairs.

Technology and its creative applications are helping to take care of flora and fauna threatened by human action. A decoy sea turtle egg uses geotagging to deter poaches and helps reduce the illegal wildlife trade. Using web-based and smartphone applications the egg can remotely  program and monitor its surroundings. Similarly, a new food company that grows fish in the lab uses nanotech. The fish is molecularly identical to fish in the sea yet does not harm any species in its harvesting. Plus, there are no contaminants from environmental pollution in the lab-grown fish. How else can traditional housing and feeding approaches adapt new technologies for a more sustainable future?



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