Stone Harbor, NJ – September 2014.  As part of continuing efforts to build a center of excellence in research, education, and conservation, The Wetlands Institute has implemented new energy efficiency practices that include lighting technology specifically designed to be environmentally compatible with turtles and other sensitive wildlife.

The first phase of the conversion consists of illumination on The Wetlands Institute’s newly designed sign which was built to replace the one destroyed during Hurricane Sandy. Two 60-watt Port-Bright™ magnetic induction fixtures from Ultra-Tech™ Lighting, LLC, a New Jersey lighting firm, were installed in this summer.  Based upon technology invented by Nikola Tesla in 1891, the lights are replacing 200-watt metal halide lamps resulting in up to 70% reduction in electricity consumption.  The new lighting is being evaluated for its efficiency and stability and for its effectiveness for wildlife protection. If it proves to meet expectations, additional lighting on The Wetlands Institute property will be replaced with wildlife-friendly lighting.

The lights are said to have an operating lifecycle of 100,000 hours (11 years at 24 hours by 365 days).  Most importantly, the lighting spectrum is designed to have minimal impact on turtles and other wildlife that may be disturbed by traditional types of artificial light.  Dr. Lenore Tedesco, Executive Director of The Wetlands Institute, spearheaded the initiative to find a sustainable artificial lighting solution that would also be wildlife-friendly.  “We happened upon Ultra-Tech™ Lighting from an article in The Denver Post that highlighted environmentally friendly Snow-Bright™ lights deployed at the Steamboat Springs Ski Resort.  The lights were said to be Dark Sky compliant and to use silent ballasts and bulbs designed to minimize impact on bats and other sound-sensitive wildlife.  We wanted to lower our carbon footprint but were concerned with the visual sensitivities of turtles, birds, and other wildlife” said Dr. Tedesco.

“We were thrilled to get the call about using our lights in our home state of New Jersey,” stated Philip Gotthelf, Ultra-Tech’s Managing Director.  “Our Turtle-Safe™ lighting project has been in development for almost five years and we believe The Wetlands Institute is the perfect organization to further test and verify our technology,” he continued.  Port-Bright™ lighting was designed to meet stringent OSHA and Coast Guard lighting regulations for ports, harbors, and marine terminals while also complying with Dark Sky ordinances and environmental concerns specific to aquatic habitats.  “We are hopeful that our Turtle-Safe™ lighting will become the standard for replacing all artificial lighting in and around aquatic habitats,” says Gotthelf.