What can I do with gas lighting

senateGas light advocate
"... the CO2 emissions for street lighting can be reduced considerably by using the new luminaires."No clear ecological disadvantage
  • The share of gas light in carbon dioxide emissions in the entire city of Berlin is negligibly small at 0.17%. The savings of 26,000 t of carbon dioxide targeted by the Senate does not take into account the production of electricity in power plants with a high level of CO2 pollution (à lignite-based power generation) and the energy losses that result from converting it into coal and electricity and from transporting it. Gas light, on the other hand, is generated from natural gas, a 100% natural product. In the future, gas lights can also be operated with biogas.
  • The ash residues from burned incandescent bodies are extremely low at around 2.5 to 3 kg per year and can be disposed of quickly and inexpensively. In addition, all materials such as glass, ceramics or metals can be reused and do not have to be laboriously recycled or disposed of as "electronic scrap", as is the case with decommissioned electric lights. Rather, the use of solar-powered switching devices avoids hazardous waste such as batteries.

Gas lanterns are not climate killers - converting lignite into electricity is an environmental disaster

The so-called ecological argument for dismantling gas lighting is completely exaggerated. Their share of CO2 emissions is negligible. Berlin electric lanterns are not operated CO2-free either.

Particularly critical: the electricity mix, e.g. for Berlin's electric street lighting, comes largely from the Jänschwalde lignite power station. According to the operator Vattenfall Europe, the Jänschwalde power plant achieved a net efficiency of 35 to 36 percent in 2011, so it is comparatively inefficient. According to the European Emissions Register, CO2 emissions in 2011 were 24.3 million tons. In addition, u. a. large amounts of nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, mercury, lead, arsenic and fine dust.

On the list of the most climate-damaging power plants in the EU published by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in 2007, Jänschwalde was ranked 4th worldwide Environment and health causes up to 2,000 million euros. Although it is the youngest of the three remaining power plant locations in Lusatia, it has the oldest technology on average. Vattenfall's plans for modernization, including a system for capturing and injecting CO2, were discontinued in 2011.

The Vattenfall Group is listed as one of the most environmentally harmful companies by the environmental protection organization Greenpeace. Nevertheless, the management contract for Berlin's street lighting (electric and gas lanterns) was awarded to Vattenfall for the next 7 years.

The emissions trading operated by Vattenfall is also viewed critically, which in fact does not result in any CO2 savings. A conversion of Berlin's electric street lighting to green electricity is not planned, as this is far too expensive for the country. In contrast to electricity, gas is a primary energy source and is only consumed on site.

GASAG now feeds more than 10 percent biogas into the gas network. This proportion will be increased even further in the next few years. The biogas upgrading process "methanization" (conversion of CO2 into methane), which is still under development, will enable the generation of an almost CO2-free, feed-in natural gas equivalent (source: Fraunhofer-IWES).


Gas lanterns - a contribution to active nature conservation

The electric lighting of our big cities makes about 50% of the so-called Light smog ("Dark Sky Syndrome"). On clear nights in large cities like Berlin it is ten times brighter today than it was 150 years ago. Dust particles break the light, huge bells of light shine over the cities. The planned increased use of LED lights with their rather white color quality will increase this effect even further, with currently unforeseeable (health) consequences for humans and animals. Gas lanterns, on the other hand, do not generate any light pollution with their special light spectrum.

Since gas light does not contain any UV light, it does not attract any insects. Since these are based on the cool, white-blue light of the moon and stars at night, they are particularly attracted to fluorescent tubes. Around 150 of the insects that are important for the ecological food chain die every night on a single electric lantern with compact fluorescent tubes (such as the Semperlux model "Jessica").

If you convert this number to the 8,000 dismantled gas row lights, then in future up to 1,200,000 insects will be killed every night on the newly installed electric lights. Experts such as the Mainz zoologist Gerhard Eisenbeis (professor emeritus specializing in soil biology and forest entomology) estimate that Germany's street lamps will become a mass grave for well over a billion insects night after night.

Since insects are an important part of the food chain, an ecological imbalance will arise here in the long term, with consequences that are not yet foreseeable. Prof. Eisenbeis: "If you consider that insects play a central role in all terrestrial ecosystems when there are no more insects, then bats are affected, many insectivorous bird species are affected. Insects are a key group in nature. You have to be affected assume that light is an important factor responsible for the decline of species. "(source :)

When dismantling the gas lanterns - such as the gas row lights - become massive Tree roots damaged. Since two construction pits have to be set per luminaire, a total of 16,000 construction pits are created when the 8,000 gas row luminaires are dismantled. There are trees in the immediate vicinity at almost all locations. The damage they cause will only be seen in the years to come.

Compact fluorescent tubes, as used in the "Jessica" electric light, contain up to 5 mg mercury per luminaire. This has to be disposed of and recycled at great expense.

The quality of the gas light is very high quality. On the one hand, it is glare-free and creates clear shadows; on the other hand, all colors in the surrounding area are reproduced largely naturally. This means that it also complies with safety standards - provided that it is properly maintained. Electric lights do significantly worse here. (Comparison: 4-flame gas row lamp approx. 5 Lux / 9-lamp gas row lamp approx. 12 Lux / electric lamp "Jessica" up to 2.0 Lux - Source: Baukammer Berlin).

The aesthetic quality should also not be neglected. Most people find the gold-yellow light from gas lanterns more pleasant than the blue-white electric light. Gas light also means a bit of quality of life. It is not for nothing that brokers, homeowners or builders advertise the existence of special gas lighting on site.