ALAN 2016 Conference, Cluj-Napoca, Romania



Dorin Beu



The second issue of International Journal of Sustainable Lighting – ISJL continue with a first set of papers that were presented at Artifical Light At Night – ALAN 2016 held in Cluj-Napoca, Romania between September 26-28, 2016. ALAN Steering Committee was chaired by Christopher Kyba and included Maurice Donners, Dietrich Henckel, Franz Holker, Martin Morgan-Taylor, Johanne Roby, Sibylle Schroer, Richard Stevens and Dorin Beu, as local chair. The invited speackers were George Brainard, Michal Zeman, Anna Steidle, Siegrun Appelt, Gregory Dobler, Sharon Wise, Alessandro Manfrin, Clementine Azam and Martin Aube. There were around 100 participants from all over Europe, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, South Korea and United States of America and it was a unique chance to meet all specialists in this area in one place

The ALAN conferences started in Berlin, Germany in 2013, moved to Leicester, UK in 2014, crossed the Atlantic to Sherbrooke, Canada in 2015, and was now back in Europe at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania for ALAN 2016. The launch of ALAN as a conference series would not be possible without the help of EU Cost programme ES1204 Loss of Night Network LoNNe. During the last four years, LoNNe group of specialists from Technology and Design, Biology and Ecology, Modelling and Measures, Society and Health has met twice a year. As lighting engineers, we have learned a lot from our colleagues, as we had to change from lighting exclusively for human vision, to both human health and vision, and now to consider the many animals, birds, fish and insects that are influenced by electric lighting produced by humans for their own need. Lighting designers nowadays need to be very careful in choosing the light class for public lighting as low as possible, in order to avoid unnecessary over sizing, in using Constant Light Output for luminaires, avoiding cold temperature of LEDs and, above all, seizing the importance of using lighting control systems. The good thing about LEDs is that you can dim and switch on/off easily, and this raises the importance of sensors. In order to change lighting codes we need threshold values, which will be scientifically proven, and this is why we believe the ALAN conference is so important. In the years to come, we are afraid of the possibility of increasingly huge advertising panels, commercial signage of different colours and so on.

But there are also sociological aspects. In order to prepare the general public for this conference, we had invited Ian Cheney, film director of the documentary The City Dark to present his movie in a series of cities around Romania, including Cluj-Napoca. During the Q&A a very typical question was: You want us to go back in time to the darkness of communist period? After 1990, many people from former communist countries expected more light during nigh time, and thought that this will reduce levels of crime. It is therefore necessary to clearly explain the importance of ALAN avoidance, so that we can have the next actions in many countries - to create dark-sky parks. Thanks to ALAN conference the first steps, site evaluation and measurements at Apuseni Natural Park, near Cluj-Napoca, were made thanks Andreas Haenel, Zoltan Kolath and Andrej Mojar. This is why the paper of John Barentine from our journal, about astro-tourism, is a practical insight to next developments is dark-sky assessment. 

A more subtle and lighting design approach is in Siegrun Appelt paper about physical and emotional impact of light and present artistic experiments about how bright the light can be and how this can affect us.

Other papers like the ones of James Carr, Andreas Jechow, Salvador Ribas and Jaime Zamorano are dealing with the delicate problem of how to measure the effects of ALAN, while Andrea Giacomelli present his work on raising awareness about ALAN in Italy and monitoring light pollution.

A special paper is the one of Nur Nafhatun about how light pollution affects the observation of the Islamic New Moon. The one by Kademamagha Parisa about the directionality as an important light factor for human health is an bibliographic analysis of existing papers in this area.

Raising awareness about the importance of darkness is very important and the moment is now, so all participants to ALAN 2016 will play a key role in changing the paradigm of light at night. So lets hope that we will meet at the next ALAN 2018 in autumn 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (details at www.artificillightatnight.org).  

         Re-connect with night!                                         






Dorin Beu (Ph.D., Reader)

Lighting Engineering Laboratory

University of Cluj-Napoca, Cluj-Napoca


Tel.: +40 723 661536

E-mail address: dorin.beu@rogbc.org