Mention Finland and people automatically think of dark winter days where the sun never shines. Lighting therefore is of paramount importance, and with the EU phase out of incandescent bulbs, LEDs are now lighting the way in Finland as they are in the rest of Europe.
Like everyone else, the Finns want to reduce costs and minimise the environmental impact of their lighting. In the most northern parts of Finland the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon for two months of the year. Even south Finland only averages around 6 hours of light a day in mid-winter. If ever there was a case for affordable LED lighting, it’s Finland.
In 2009, the Levi ski resort in Kittilä became the first district in Finland to install LED street lighting. The local authority is investing heavily in its infrastructure, with emphasis being placed on innovation, sustainability, and energy saving.
Strange as it might seem,research is underway in Finland which is demonstrating the benefits of using a combination of solar power and LED lighting. This is because in the summer, the country gets more daylight hours than some southern European countries.
However, for a country which is plunged into darkness for so many months, solar power is only one of the sustainable ways needed to power that essential LED lighting.
Another LED innovation has been the piloting of intelligent lighting and its benefits in Finnish petrol stations. The first site to be tested was the Neste Oil Express-station in Oulu, where the metal halide lighting fixtures were replaced by intelligent LEDs.
Sadly the weeks of polar night, called ‘kaamos’, experienced in the northern areas of Finland bring another problem. Kaamos depression is common and has resulted in Finland having the one of the highest suicide rates in the world. Hopefully, as with cases of SAD (seasonal affective disorder), kaamos depression sufferers will find some relief using LED Lightboxes as the country continues to embrace this energy-saving technology.