Turtle-friendly coastal lighting protects local habitat and promotes sustainability

May 5, 2020
The Dark-Sky-rated Maya luminaire from Luminis uses amber LEDs to avoid disrupting the activities of hatchling turtles in the seaside resort city of Gulf Shores, AL.

Gulf Shores is blessed with miles of pristine sand beaches on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. More than five million annual visitors are drawn to the stunning beaches, which offer a year-round attraction for the resort city.

With an exceptional natural environment comes a responsibility to protect the local habitat through sustainable living and tourism. The Gulf Coast is home to several species of sea turtles on the world’s endangered list.  Sea turtle eggs and hatchlings are particularly vulnerable to their environment.

Lighting continues to be a concern in coastal communities. Artificial white light such as standard streetlights, patio lights, and flashlights can confuse the baby hatchlings who rely on moonlight and starlight to steer them toward the water. So, when the city of Gulf Shores upgraded its lighting along the streets and boardwalks adjacent to the beach, finding a turtle-friendly solution was vital.

Landscape architects on the project selected Luminis’ Maya high-performance post-top luminaire with advanced optics. The exceptional thermal design of this attractive fixture allows significant advantages in energy saving and lighting efficiency, contributing to the sustainability objectives of the city.

One of the most compelling features of the luminaire is its optional turtle-friendly amber LED.  Research has identified that sea turtles are not affected by amber LEDs with specific wavelengths, making the Maya the right fit for the environmentally sensitive Gulf Shores coastline. Project architects also selected an optional backlight shield for each of the 93 luminaires, further minimizing potential glare and light trespass on the ocean side of each fixture.

Additionally, Maya is Dark Sky rated. The luminaires deliver the appropriate light down to the pathways and sidewalks, but with minimal light pollution for the surrounding houses and public spaces.

Sea turtle populations have been positively affected by a variety of conservation efforts, including lighting initiatives. With its sustainable, turtle-friendly lighting from Luminis, the city of Gulf Shores has found its solution to help protect its natural resources for future generations to enjoy.

PROJECT NAME: Gulf Shores, Alabama

LOCATION: Gulf Shores, Alabama, USA

CATEGORY: Exterior Lighting






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