If you thought energy-efficient lighting was big in 2023, just wait until you learn what’s in store for 2024.

After wildfires and floods saw the effects of climate change hit closer to home than ever before and record-high utility bills threatened to plunge towns and cities into darkness, lots of councils and authorities spent last year thinking about how a cost-effective, environmentally friendly lighting strategy could help the planet and their pockets. These thoughts will turn into actions for many conducting lighting upgrades and installations over the next 12 months…

With natural disasters and inflation in their not-so-distant memory, we expect councils and authorities to conduct inventory cleanses that identify opportunities to swap older lamp technologies for more sustainable alternatives in 2024. These new and improved lights will possess high circular economy scores that help reduce the CO2 emissions of their projects, as manufacturers focus their efforts on cutting their embodied carbon.

Plus, curious about ways to prevent lighting from disturbing the natural world, councils and authorities will also grow interested in using assets like dimmer lights with warmer colour temperatures to meet the latest guidelines in 2024 — something us lighting consultants will gladly encourage. Why? They have a minimal impact on the environment and the wildlife within it.

Stay tuned as we take a closer look at the upcoming lighting landscape; our insights could help you get ahead of the curve and even become a trend-setter on your next project!

Super-sustainable lights and systems

When talking about lighting trends to prepare for in 2024, it only makes sense to start with a tried-and-true favourite that’s on track for big things in energy-efficient lighting design: LEDs.

Whilst these long-lasting, low-emission alternatives to incandescent and halogen lights are nothing new, advanced LEDs will emerge in 2024. For example, manufacturers are working on producing more efficient assets and even using recyclable and biodegradable materials to reduce the environmental impact of the products and schemes they’re used in.

We’ll also see the rising uptake of solar-powered streetlights in lighting strategies, as the same systems used to monitor and control LEDs make their way into the world of renewables. Think central management systems that use the internet of things (IoT) to gather and communicate data about factors such as ambient light levels, ensuring the lights are only in use when necessary and aiding in sustainability.

Amber-toned colour temperatures

Whilst we’d love to say that lighting design teams are experimenting with the warmer side of the colour wheel for fun this year, reds and ambers will be a key trend for 2024 for other reasons.

Lately, there’s been a growing emphasis on the way that blue-toned lights can confuse birds and mammals’ biological clocks and behaviour patterns and cause population loss. For instance, last August, the Institution of Lighting Professionals published GN08/23, finding that cooler colour temperatures were more disruptive to internationally protected bat species.

You’ll likely struggle to gain planning application approval without meeting the latest environmental guidelines, so we’ll see ecologically sensitive installations swap harsh, cool lights for assets with a lower colour temperature in 2024. For schemes near bat habitats, that means including colour temperatures of around 1700 Kelvin (the warmest you can go before going to red lighting) during the lighting strategy stage of the planning process. 

Low-impact assets that only light what they’re supposed to

Unfortunately, the UK has had a real problem with light pollution for a long time. But it looks like 2024 will be the year lighting designs strive to change this.

In 2023, countless studies and research papers investigated the role of light pollution in causing sky glow. Scientists discovered that stars are being hidden by the fact that night skies are becoming 10% lighter each year and, more recently, it was revealed that sky glow reduces plant biomass and diversity — forcing many to rethink the role their lighting strategies play in this issue.

Over the coming months, there’ll be increasing pressure for the industry to commit to bringing light pollution mitigation to the forefront of the lighting design process (it’s been expected and written into guidance notes for years!). Where possible, existing schemes will dim lights and use louvers and downward-facing assets to prevent light spill and preserve the night sky, whilst new installations will only light specific areas, like pathways, to keep stars visible and ecosystems undisturbed. 

Hoping to secure planning approval on a lighting upgrade or new installation in 2024? Get in touch with DFL — one of the UK’s leading independent lighting consultants — at +44 (0)1962 855080 or info@dfl-uk.com today. We know all about LEDs and solar-powered lights, ecologically sensitive schemes and light pollution mitigation, and provide a range of services to help you use them to your advantage this year.