A wind powered street light to tackle light pollution
Designed by Tobias Trübenbacher
About the project.
The higher we build our cities, the more windy they become. At the same time, however, in these environments the harmful anthropogenic influences on our planet are increasing ever more. An often neglected problem in this context is the intensifying light pollution. Every year the worldwide amount of artificial light is growing by 6%. This development not only has bad health effects on humans, but also a serious impact on flora and fauna. Thus, for example, it is estimated that in Germany alone around 1.2 billion insects die in one single summer night because of street lighting.
Nonetheless, the world‘s population spends nearly a fifth of the total global electricity on public lighting, which releases a significant amount of greenhouse gases. In Germany alone, public lights emit 2.5 million tons of CO2 per year.
The lamp PAPILIO is reducing the ecological footprint of street lighting many times over by generating electricity with a wind turbine while at the same time minimizing light pollution. Using a Savonius wind rotor, the product functions as a „prosumer“, climate-neutrally producing all the energy it consumes. A battery stores the electricity and can thereby also bridge periods of calm. This makes it possible to operate PAPILIO completely autonomously without a necessity for elaborate electricity infrastructure. Alternatively, the product can also be connected to a power grid in order to feed in surplus energy during strong winds.
To minimize light pollution, the product is designed as a “full-cut-off“ light, which only emits light downwards. Moreover, it provides an infrared sensor, only activating the light when it is actually needed. The used light spectrum is significantly less attractive to insects due to a low blue component.
With PAPILIO, the process of generating energy becomes an aesthetic play, enriching the public space — both during the day and at night.
„PAPILIO cleverly addresses two major problems we are facing with current street lighting solutions – light pollution which has negative impact on people’s health and the ecosystem and a surprisingly high amount of carbon emissions. What sparked my interest in PAPILIO is the movement, I really love the folded approach of the wind turbines because it reminds me of a simple paper windmill. The beautiful movement elegantly balances the rather technical design and enhances the appearance beyond its main purpose to locally generate power.“ – Johanna Schoemaker
University of Arts, Berlin, Product Design