Signify, which was called Philips Lighting previously, announced the results of a study last year which showed that their ClearField red LED lighting did not disturb the bats like normal streetlights do. They have carried the concept further and the Dutch town of Zuidhoek-Nieuwkoop has become the first town in the world to use the bat-friendly streetlights.
Bats tend to live in near-complete darkness and try to stay away from white LED lights as well as the yellowish sodium streetlights. Almost every city in the world has these lights and it greatly limits the areas in which bats can hunt. Furthermore, the insects bats feed upon are attracted to the light and often end up in places that the bats avoid.
Signify, or Philips Lighting as it was called at the time of experiments in 2017, mounted red, white, and green LED lights on poles in a natural habitat that was dark and undisturbed. The ClearField technology was used in the red LED lights and all the three colours were of the intensity that is commonly used to illuminate country roads.
The ClearField technology was developed in collaboration with the Netherlands’ University of Wageningen and other non-government organizations. It was discovered that the bats avoided the green and white lights but were not bothered by the red lights.
According to Signify, this was because those lights utilize “a special light recipe that is perceived by bats as darkness, yet which provides enough illumination for residents,” adding that the lights “use a wavelength that doesn’t interfere with a bat’s internal compass.”
Zuidhoek-Nieuwkoop is a known feeding ground for a number of rare species fo bats. The streets of an 89-house sustainable housing project have been installed with these bat-friendly streetlights. The installation was only completed last week and it is a great step to help wildlife.