Due to ongoing campaigning for biologically/ecologically responsible street lighting, certain areas of Dunedin have installed amber 2200 K LEDs, instead of the planned high-intensity, glary, white 3000 K LEDs. Although the amber LEDs have a better spectrum, they are still too intense and glary due to the inherent drawbacks of the technology and the design of the light source with a flat array of exposed diodes/chips. The transport department has applied dimming to most of the LEDs to help mitigate the high intensity of the LEDs.
Although amber lighting was approved primarily to protect ecosystems (a first in NZ), to help preserve Dunedin’s reputation as NZ's wildlife capital and its appeal as a popular ecotourism destination, there are other advantages that make this lighting a better option than the 3000 K installed elsewhere in the city.
• It's less disruptive to the health, well-being, and life quality of human residents.
• Amber 2200 K LEDs emit light that's a similar orange colour to HPS street lights. This provides a warm ambience befitting Dunedin.
• Connected to the Central Management System (CMS), amber LEDs are dimmable and can also be turned off during curfew hours or off-peak times, further reducing power consumption.
• Although shielded, amber LEDs have been designed specifically to minimise the impact of light on biology and protect habitats on Earth - they also help to preserve the night sky.
If your community wants to ensure future generations also benefit from the decisions made now, protective lighting ordinances and best lighting practices can be established so your region continues to have sustainable, ecologically and biologically responsible lighting. (Click here to learn more.)
Amber street lighting will help protect endangered native flora and fauna at Orokunui Ecosanctuary, the Albatross colony, as well as harbour and aquatic life - so amber lighting has been installed on the Otago Peninsula, Purakanui, and the small coastal towns north of Dunedin, including Waitati, Warrington, Seacliff, Karitane and Waikouaiti. Unfortunately, the suburb of Tomahawk, which is home to rich biodiversity, was overlooked and has had 3000 K LEDs installed.
While "Amber Lit Communities" will demonstrate commitment to sustainability and lead the way - there’s another benefit to this lighting.
Dunedin can become a “galactic gateway” to other astro tourism destinations in the South Island, as New Zealand moves towards becoming the world’s first Dark Sky Nation.
Also, there are current plans to link these small coastal communities by a cycleway, so there's an opportunity to harness the special advantage of having responsible, dark sky compliant lighting. Dunedin could have the first amber lit constellation cycleway in the world.
Furthermore, if these special places meet the criteria, recognition can be sought from Dark Skies International (formely the International Dark Skies Association (IDA) to become dark sky destinations.
Dark Skies status offers many social, cultural, and economic bonuses.
Just imagine what a constellation of “Dark Sky Communities” will offer, and also how valuable it is for Dunedin to have claim to a twinkling treasure trove of stars that provide infinite awe, wonder and woo.
LED TRIAL WAS FOR THE TENDER PROCESS ONLY
A concerned resident of the Dunedin obtained public feedback submitted online to the Dunedin City Council, about the 3000 K LED "Trial" in South Dunedin, under the Official Information Act.
This was undertaken because at the time, Richard Saunders, the Acting Group Manager Transport Dunedin City Council, was quoted in the Otago Daily Times on the 6th April, 2019, that the majority of feedback was supportive. This is what he said, "However, council transport group manager Richard Saunders said feedback from the existing South Dunedin trial had been "positive" and there was no need for another one."
This is puzzling because according to Chief Executive of the Dunedin City Council (DCC), the "Trial" was for the tender process. (So companies could secure the contract for the LED retrofit.)
This news was discovered at a public forum in April 2019, when a member of the Dunedin Dark Skies Group, requested the DCC rethink the LED retrofit, and an attending councillor asked Sue Bidrose what the public feedback had been.
Even more puzzling, is the fact that feedback submitted online by informed members of the public was overwhelmingly negative. These comments are available in the document titled "Response for LGOIMA for feedback on LED Trial in South Dunedin" pdf in the DOWNLOADS section below.
(Many thanks to Pauline Dicker for obtaining this information.)
On 17th July, 2019 another article was published in the Otago Daily Times which again dismissed these concerns. Would the feedback from South Dunedin residents interviewed by the Otago Daily Times have been positive if they had been properly informed of the risks, drawbacks and hazards of the technology?
Also, where is the positive feedback mentioned by Richard Saunders?
While the Dark Sky Advisory Panel was dissolved a few years ago, the Dunedin Dark Skies Group has continued to campaign for shielded, amber 2200 K LED street lighting to protect the night sky.