27th July 2021

Light pollution – what it is and how we combat it

Electrical lighting is an amazing thing and has more than helped shape the world as we know it today. Just try to imagine your life without it. Difficult isn’t it?

If it’s not used wisely, however, it can impact the environment greatly. For example, it’s estimated that around 15-20% of the world’s electricity production is used to power lighting. This in turn leads to around 5% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.

One environmental impact of lighting that’s less talked about is caused directly by lighting itself – light pollution.

So what is it?

One example of light pollution is skyglow. This type of light pollution comes about because things like street and building lights aren’t aimed just where they’re needed. Instead, a large proportion of their output goes directly, or is reflected, upwards and is scattered by the atmosphere – this virtually obscures anything above it such as the Milky Way and stars.

How we work to avoid skyglow:

  • All our lighting designs and installations seek to minimise this type of light pollution as much as possible. They never direct light straight to the sky – it would be a total ‘waste’ and compromise what we’re trying to achieve. So, all our products have shields that prevent this.
  • Our luminaires, with their proprietary lenses, are also designed to produce an even light, just where it’s needed, rather than an intense light in one area that would cause greater reflection up to the sky and add to skyglow.

As well as skyglow there are three other main types of recognised light pollution. These are:

  • Glare – excessive brightness that causes visual discomfort.
  • Light spill – light falling where it’s not intended, needed or wanted.
  • Clutter – bright, confusing, and excessive groupings of light sources.

You’ve probably experienced these on a personal level. The dazzle of an oncoming car’s headlights – glare. A neighbour’s garden security lighting shining in your home – spill. If you’re standing in somewhere like the middle of Times Square or Piccadilly Circus– clutter.

They can all happen with industrial lighting too. So in the rest of this short blog, we’ll focus on just these aspects, and what we as an environmentally aware, specialist lighting company do to combat them,

Industrial lighting glare:

Just the same as a car’s headlight glare can cause safety issues, industrial glare can too. Poorly configured aviation apron lighting produces significant safety problems for staff and passengers on the ground, and pilots in their planes. It’s the same for ports and maritime terminal lighting. If high mast crane lighting isn’t properly aimed, with the right shielding also in place, those working on the ground and the crane operators themselves can be affected by harsh glare and safety can be compromised. Glare can also be a problem with sports lighting – for the players, spectators, and broadcasters.

Our lighting Design and Engineering teams have years of experience in creating lighting solutions for airports, ports, and sporting venues. We’ve completed over 100 global airport projects and are the leading supplier of LED lighting systems for airport aprons. We’re also the preferred supplier to many of the world’s busiest and biggest port and terminal operators. We’re a leading sports lighting supplier too. So, we know more than anyone about how to create lighting solutions that minimise the risks of glare – in all applications and environments around the world.

How we prevent glare:

  • Our luminaires have been specially designed with glare in mind. Our Titan Series, one of our flagship products, is manufactured with our propriety optics which deliver maximum light levels on very precise designated areas. Plus, its asymmetric floodlighting provides an excellent solution for low glare applications. Our Modus R Series for sports venues has been designed to ensure low-glare, broadcast-ready, flicker-free lighting too.
  • We test, test, and test again. When we start a project – new build or retrofit – one of the very first things we do is to test our designs on paper to see where glare may be an issue. We then test our proposed designs using things like DIAlux software to make sure they’ll reduce any glare to an absolute minimum. We don’t stop there. Before we install a lighting system we test for any glare in-situ – at the points where it could make an impact. For example, at airports we make observation tests not just at ground level but also at the various heights pilots would be depending on the type of plane.
  • All our lighting installations and products are also designed to be as ‘future-proofed’ as possible. This means, for example, that if changes to the layout of an airport are needed we can easily add extra luminaires to allow for these changes without causing any increase in glare.
Industrial lighting spill:

This is less of a problem when it comes to airports and ports, as they’re usually situated away from urban areas. Sports venues, however, such as soccer grounds, are often found in the middle of cities and close to people’s homes. Poorly designed or installed venue lighting can spill a lot of harsh light – during matches and evening training. Just imagine what this would mean for you if it were shining in your bedroom when you needed to be at work early the next day.

Midstream light spill solutions:

  • Here again, our designers and engineers know exactly what to look for before they even put pen to paper.
  • Our Modus S Series, for sports applications, has been designed with specialty light shields to provide high uniformity as well as to specifically reduce light spill to provide an ideal solution for venues in urban areas.
  • We’re also experts when it comes to national and local lighting planning regulations. So we know:
    • Exactly what regulations need to be complied with.
    • When any additional planning permission is needed.
    • How to stay compliant if any things change later down the line.
Industrial lighting clutter:

This can be a problem almost anywhere if the lighting design is poor and too many light sources are involved. Let’s think again about somewhere like Times Square. Each of the illuminated advertising billboards is vying for your attention. To make their advert stand out, advertisers will ramp up their lighting to the maximum. Other advertisers then follow suit. The results in an excessive grouping of lights that can be hard to distinguish and can be confusing. Light clutter often causes glare issues and also adds to skyglow pollution.

An example of light clutter in an industrial setting can be found in port and terminal layouts. If a port’s lighting system were made up of a close series of lamppost high mast around the entire area with each holding a lamp that’s always lit and directs light straight in front it would produce light clutter. The same can be seen on poorly designed motorways, especially on their slip roads.

How we stop light clutter:

  • On the whole, our lighting solutions are housed on high masts – especially in ports and terminals. This helps prevent clutter from reaching anyone at lower levels – such as the road or the deck of a ship.
  • Also, even when they’re all on the same mast, our lights are positioned so as to not ‘compete’ with each other. Our lighting designs aim each luminaire slightly differently to create a uniform level of light across an entire area – thus avoiding clutter.
A quick summary of just some other environmental benefits LED lighting provides compared to traditional lighting
  • They’re much more efficient – they use much less electricity, so far less global warming CO2 is produced to run them.
  • They give a better quality of light and its distribution – so a lot fewer lamps are needed to cover the same area. This means less need to be produced which leads to environmental savings across the whole production to distribution chain.
  • As they last much longer, not as many need to be produced – giving the same environmental saving as above.
  • They can be controlled very easily and work with things like motion sensors. So, for example, if an area of a port wasn’t being used it can be left unlit and the lights only come on when someone is in that area. They’re also dimmable. Both of these can produce big energy and environmental savings that can’t be achieved with traditional lighting which can’t be dimmed or come on instantly.
  • Traditional lighting can contain environmentally harmful, toxic elements – these aren’t found in LED lights.
Hetty Leiwy, Bid Manager - Midstream Lighting

Hetty Leiwy, Bid Manager at Midstream Lighting.

June 7th 2021

ICAO Lights - Understanding the rules of apron floodlighting an FAQ guide

The world of apron floodlighting can be complex. Sometimes so much so you can end up thinking you need a science PhD and a legal qualification to understand it. That’s probably why it’s one of the things we often get asked about. So we’ve asked Yuli Grig, our Commercial Director & Co-founder, to give us answers to the apron floodlighting questions we get asked most frequently.

Are the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) standards mandatory?

The ICAO publishes a list of recommendations and not compulsory rules. These recommendations, however, are adopted by local governing national bodies that can convert them into legal requirements. These governing bodies are typically known as ‘Competent Authorities’ (CA) and would usually be a country’s Civil Aviation Authority or their Health & Safety or Standards agencies. As these legal requirements are the responsibility of the local CA, it can choose to exceed any minimum ICAO recommendations if it wishes.

  • In the USA, the legal requirements guiding document is Illuminating Engineering Society of North America’s IES RP-37.
  • In the UK, it’s the Civil Aviation Authority’s CAP168.
  • In Europe, this is covered by European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s EASA CS ADR – DSN.M.750.
  • In Australia, it’s the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s MOS139.

For other examples and to discuss specific national or international requirements, please contact us.

What are the ICAO Standards for apron floodlighting?

These standards can be found in Annex 14 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation
Aerodromes, Volume I, Aerodrome Design and Operations, Eighth Edition, July 2018.

It recommends the Average Illuminance should be at least the following:

  • For aircraft stands:
    • A horizontal illuminance — 20 Lux with a uniformity ratio (average to minimum) of not more than 4 to 1.
    • A vertical illuminance — 20 Lux at a height of 2m above the apron in relevant directions.
  • For other apron areas:
    • A horizontal illuminance — 50 percent of the average illuminance on the aircraft stands with a Uniformity Ratio (average to minimum) of not more than 4 to 1
Should we measure the entire apron or just the aircraft stands individually?

Each aircraft stand needs to be measured independently to guarantee compliance with the requirements because they specifically refer to aircraft stands.

Should we design our lighting system and take measurements for only the largest aircraft type in a MARS (Multiple Apron Ramp System) stand?

For a MARS stand, that may have several aircraft types using it, you need to design it and take measurements for each type of stand within the MARS stand individually.

Should we primarily be concerned with the average lux levels?

Although the requirements call for an Average Illuminance, the minimum levels are also important as they form part of the Uniformity Ratio calculations. The Uniformity Ratio is equally important but is often overlooked during light levels checks. Always make sure the design and actual levels comply with both the Average Illuminance and the Uniformity.

Should I measure the apron with an aircraft parked on it or clean and clear?

Although it doesn’t expressly say so in the recommendations, it wouldn’t be practical or safe to measure the levels with an aircraft on the stand. So, the stand must be clean and clear when any measurements are taken. The design process should also be done without an aircraft on the stand. However, designers may choose to add a model of the aircraft to show the effect of shadowing.

Do I need any special equipment to measure the apron lighting levels?

Yes. You’ll need the following when you’re measuring the apron lighting levels:

  • A LED calibrated light meter.
  • Either a measuring wheel/stick – to measure the distance between the measuring locations.
  • Objects to be used as a marker i.e. traffic cones.
  • A photometric results sheet to keep clear records of the measured lux levels.

The light meter, or lux meter as it’s also known, is a very sensitive device. So we recommend:

  • You chose a reputable manufacturer’s lux meter – typically with an f1’ value better than 3%.
  • Special care is taken to make sure the lux meter is suitable for the application and calibrated within 12 months of usage. This is because the standard calibration of lux meters is made with the CIE Illuminant A (2856K incandescent source) whereas LEDs have a very different spectral response, most commonly with a strong blue peak.
  • You remember to select the correct measuring scale before it’s used.

If you’d like any help choosing a lux meter, or how to use it, just let us know

Would the process be different for a Code C stand compared to a Code F stand?

Yes. A Code F stand is so much bigger than the Code C stand, the same approach wouldn’t work. A higher number of measuring points are needed to give more accurate results for larger-sized stands. You’ll find more details about this in our Photometric Guide >

Is glare covered by ICAO Annex 14?

ICAO Annex 14 doesn’t prescribe the specific glare levels that should be adhered to. It does make the following recommendation though:

  • Apron floodlights should be located to give adequate illumination on all apron service areas, with a minimum of glare to pilots of aircraft in flight and on the ground, aerodrome and apron controllers, and personnel on the apron. The arrangement and aiming of floodlights should mean an aircraft stand receives light from two or more directions to minimize shadows.

The European Normative EN 12464-2:2014 Light and lighting — Lighting of workplaces Part 2: Outdoor work places Table 5.2 — Airports is generally used to prescribe the Glare Rating limits (RGL) which should be below 50.

When designing apron floodlighting, as well as following the recommendation that an aircraft receives light from at least two directions it also applies to the final aircraft stands on either side of an apron area.

Should we consider the taxiways or routing lanes as “other apron areas”? Is glare covered by ICAO Annex 14?

No. They’re very different and their definitions explicitly exclude each other.

An apron is a defined area of land at an airport used for the safe loading and unloading of passengers, mail, cargo. It’s also used for safely fuelling, parking, and maintenance. All of which should happen without interfering with the airport’s traffic. None of these things happen on a taxiway, so they don’t fall under ‘other apron areas’.

Taxiways are included in the definition of Manoeuvring Areas – the part of an airport used for take-off and landing of aircraft, excluding aprons.

The definition of a taxiway is: a specific path at an airport used for the taxiing aircraft that provides a link between one part of an airport and another. This includes:

  • The aircraft stand taxi lane – an area of an apron designated as a taxiway and used to provide access to aircraft stands only.
  • The apron taxiway – a part of a taxiway system found on an apron that gives a taxi-route across the apron.
  • The rapid exit taxiway – a taxiway connected to a runway at an acute angle and designed to allow landing airplanes to turn off at higher speeds than are achieved on other exit taxiways to minimizing runway occupancy times.

It’s worth noting too that the ICAO’s DOC 1957 Aerodrome Design Manual Chapter 13, Apron Floodlighting states that “On taxiways adjacent to aircraft stands, a lower illuminance is desirable in order to provide a gradual transition to the higher illuminance on the aircraft stands.”

Yuli Grig, Commercial Director & Co-founder at Midstream Lighting.

Feb 15th, 2021

The Midstream Lighting & England Athletics Floodlighting Guide

Absolutely essential reading for athletics club’s facilities managers

As England Athletics’ Official Lighting Partner we’ve created a new, comprehensive Athletics Floodlighting Guide. It’s aimed at athletic clubs and their facilities managers and will help them understand more about the seemingly complex and daunting world of lighting.

We’ve asked James Brunt, our Director of Sports, to tell us more about the guide – why we’ve created it, what it’ll give club facility managers, and the importance of best-in-class LED lighting for athletics clubs. Here’s what he has to say.

Why we’ve created this guide

As pioneers of LED lighting from when we launched over 10 years ago, we’ve made it our mission to design and deliver world-beating LED lighting solutions.

That’s not all though.

As industry leaders, we see it as our responsibility to help educate different markets, such as sports, on what LED lighting can do for them.

That’s exactly what we’ve done with this guide for England Athletics. It also ties in perfectly with their strategic initiative to develop and improve facilities at clubs and venues across the country.

England Athletics Lighting Guide Midstream Lighting
What it’ll give athletics’ club facilities managers

Let me start by telling you what it won’t give them – a lot of impenetrable, scientific ‘mumbo-jumbo’. We’ve kept it all as clear and easy to understand as possible. Even when we’ve had to use an industry term, like Uniformity, we’ve explained what it’s all about.

What does it give then?

Basically, it’s been developed to give club facilities managers an introduction to track and field athletics floodlighting standards and how these standards relate to them.

  • They’ll learn what standards they need to achieve to be compliant with athletics governing bodies’ regulations. With different rules applying to different levels and types of athletics, it’s vital they know which apply to them. It also shows them how they can future proof their lighting for and changes that may happen, like moving up a league.
  • It gives details of the basic equipment needed to analyse, and have a better understanding, of their current floodlighting. Apart from an LED light meter, which only costs around £100 or so, the only other equipment they need is a tape measure, marker objects, a bit of board, and a pen. It really is that basic. It’s how it’s used that counts.
  • It features a step-by-step guide to allow them to easily self-assess their lighting levels around all their grounds. This isn’t as difficult as it may appear. But if they use the wrong equipment, take readings at the wrong time of day, or in the wrong places, all their work will be for nothing. So, the guide also highlights all the common mistakes they need to avoid.
  • Plus, it lets them know what they have to do to improve their lighting. If it’s needed.
Why best-in-class LED lighting is so important for athletics clubs

There are many advantages of improved lighting around athletics. The key benefits can be summarised as:

  • Reduced energy costs. We’ve cut energy bills by up to 70% for some clients when switching their old metal halide floodlights for LED ones. In a world where the bottom line is being squeezed harder and harder this can only be a good thing.
  • Less maintenance. With the cost of bulbs, the equipment needed to fit them, staff time and costs, not to mention downtime, maintaining traditional metal halide athletics floodlighting systems isn’t cheap. Another ‘plus’ for a club’s bottom line when they switch to LED floodlighting. Also, just imagine what it’d do for a club’s reputation if its system were to go down mid-meeting. This won’t happen with an LED system.
  • Greatly extended opening hours. Clubs will be able to keep their facilities open for longer. This can lead to increased revenue and help attract new members too.
  • Improved safety and security. Failing to meet health and safety regulations can cost clubs a great deal if there’s an accident that could have been avoided. Security issues can cause a host of problems for clubs too – personal and financial.
  • Making sure a club’s lighting is compliant with national and international regulations. If a club’s facilities aren’t up to scratch, especially the lighting, it can cause them all sorts of issues. They could mean removal from a league… records not being allowed to count… the list goes on.
  • Reduce light pollution. Our athletics LED floodlights spill less light around surrounding areas. This is something a club’s neighbours will greatly appreciate.
  • Future-proofing a club’s lighting for years to come. Our LED floodlighting systems are versatile and easily adaptable. So if things change, for example, new regulations being introduced or a club being promoted to a new league, our LED lighting can quickly be upgraded without the need to ‘scrap’ everything and start all over.
  • Achieving the lighting levels needed to host a televised event. If a club is invited to hold an event that’s going to be broadcast, it needs the perfect lighting to do it. This need can be built into our lighting designs for the very start. Or we can easily install a temporary, portable upgrade to meet the levels required.

As you can see there are lots of compelling reasons why an athletics club should upgrade to Midstream’s world-beating LED lighting.

James Brunt, Director of Sports, Midstream Lighting.

James heads up our Sports Lighting Division. With 16 years’ industry experience, spanning the delivery of grassroots facilities all the way through to world-class sporting stadiums, James is a trusted advisor throughout the industry and recognised for his unrivalled expertise.

Feb 3rd, 2021

Midstream Spotlight: Light up the night, turn down the heat

High-powered LEDs and high heat environments – a white paper from Midstream Lighting

When it comes to LED lighting, high heat can present problem after problem. Do you know what these can be? What effect can they have on your lighting systems? And more importantly, what can you do to prevent them?

High Heat White Paper from Midstream Lighting

In high heat environments, where the daytime temperature is around 45ᵒC and it’s above 35ᵒC at night, your LED lighting systems could suffer from such issues as:

  • Lumen depreciation–if you’re in a sector that’s strictly regulated, like the Aviation industry, you ignore this at your peril because it could make your system non-compliant.
  • Colour shift – a big problem when you need colour recognition to be consistent across a whole working area.
  • Total light engine failure – the worst scenario where the only solution is to replace the whole fixture.
  • Power supply ageing – which can lead to a lot of maintenance and the costs that go with it.

To find out more about high—power LED lighting and high heat environments and to help you understand the issues you could face and how to avoid them you can download Midstream’s white paper for FREE here

Midstream Lighting