Manhattan at night - beholdingeye
It's three o'clock in the morning and many of the windows of the Manhattan skyline are still lit up, but what exactly are the reasons? It's hard to imagine that so many people are still working so late at night. So why, because in addition to the waste of energy, the costs must be horrendous. You can find out exactly what the reasons are and more in the following text.
Energy consumption analysis
Graphic - New York Times
Con Edison, New York's power company, estimates that 5,200 megawatt hours of electricity will keep Manhattan lit overnight. 5,200 VAT correspond to 5,200,000,000 watt hours. A 50-watt light bulb that lights up for one hour uses 50 Wh, which means you could power 104,000,000 million light bulbs for one hour. Are these numbers beyond your imagination? Mine too, but it makes it clear to me that it is an unimaginable effort.
Aside from decorative lighting, people need to live, trade and work and the reality is that approximately 99 percent of these lights need to be on at night.
The residents live in tall buildings
Many towers serve as office space, others are residential buildings. In both types of skyscrapers, emergency exits typically remain lit - even when many New Yorkers are sleeping.
Some lights are required to prevent the planes from crashing .
The Civil Aviation Authority generally requires that buildings higher than 61 meters, or about 20 stories, be illuminated or marked by light. On some of Manhattan's larger towers, for example, a red light flashes on a long antenna.
Ground Zero at night
Social media is awash with photos of New York's lights, and tourists seem to particularly enjoy the view , whether they're gazing at billboards in Times Square or taking bus, helicopter or boat tours to get a bird's-eye view of skyscrapers , including the legendary Empire State Building.
The building, usually lit in its signature white, has been working on decorative lighting since the Bicentennial in 1976, when it shone in red, white and blue. So it now appears in orange on Halloween, green on Eid al-Fitr, blue and orange for the New York Knicks.
Anthony E. Malkin, the chief executive of Empire State Realty Trust, which operates the Empire State Building, said the tower's external lighting system was overhauled in 2011 with energy-efficient LED bulbs and a new control system capable of displaying 16 million color combinations.
These lights go out at 2 a.m., with one exception. When film studios visit New York City and shoot at 2, 3, or 4 a.m., they ask to keep the Empire lit.
Most of the Empire State Building's interior lighting was retrofitted with motion detector sensors. If there is light coming from one of the windows, there is probably someone inside.
However, CO2 and light pollution are a problem
Lighting is more energy efficient than it was five or ten years ago, but the night skyline is still responsible for about 770 million kg of planet-warming CO2 per year.
The 770 million kg represents about 1.5 percent of the city's annual greenhouse gas emissions, according to an estimate by Con Edison.
In June, New York state pledged that all electricity would come from carbon-free sources by 2050.
Light pollution is a nuisance for nocturnal animals, affecting reproduction and migration. For example, birds attracted to light may crash into buildings, especially those with transparent or reflective windows. According to New York City Audubon, these collisions kill up to 230,000 birds in the city each year.
Donovan J. Richards, a Queens city councilman, has been trying to roll back internal and external lighting in the city since 2015. He introduced a bill that would require thousands of buildings to be turned off or dimmed overnight.
“I think one of the most important strategies we can have as a city is to conserve energy,” Richards said. "It's a no-brainer, when you're not using your lights, turn them off."
He added: “I have a 3-year-old son who practices this. He knows he has to go to bed and turn off the lights. If a 3-year-old has the discipline to turn off the lights when he's not using them, there's no reason New York City can't find a way to do that too. "
The 2015 bill was ultimately watered down, and opponents - including leaders in the real estate and food industries - said dimmed lights would endanger public safety .
Since 2016, the city has required owners of medium-sized buildings to retrofit lighting systems in non-residential spaces. They also had to ensure that lights are turned off when a room is unoccupied and set efficiency standards for outdoor lighting.
“New York City is a global leader in reducing emissions, and we will continue to do so to achieve our goal of carbon neutrality by 2050,” said Julia Arredondo, a spokeswoman for City Hall. “Our retrofit programs reduce emissions, make our air cleaner and keep New Yorkers healthier.”
If you want to experience the lights of New York at night, the Panorama Night Tour is one of the most beautiful experiences.