The Dutch entrepreneur Chintan Shah found some statistical data showing that just keeping the city lights on costs Europe, alone, over 10 billion Euros each year and is responsible for more than 40 percent of a government’s energy usage. That’s 40 million tons of CO2 emissions generated through sources such as coal plants and wide-scale burning of other fossil fuels, which gives new meaning to the concept of “light pollution.”
Shah first began developing his fix, a wireless technology, as a master’s student at the Delft University of Technology back in 2009. Basically, he retrofits existing street lamps with a specialized interlinked network of sensors that automatically dials down the brightness when no one is around and restores maximum radiance upon detecting the presence of oncoming human activity, such as moving cars, pedestrians and bicycles. For the past two years, neighborhoods in Ireland and Holland have been implementing the system, and now it could be coming to Los Angeles (as well as parts of Germany and Canada).