Orange Street Lights: Why Are They Emitting Orange Light?

Orange Street Lights Why Are They Emitting Orange Light

For decades, street lights have provided citizens with warm orange light at night. It seems that they light up every corner of the city. But these years, people may find that in some cities or on some of the roads, the light turns white. The reason is that the government is changing the old street lights into LED lights. Why are the former orange street lights emitting orange light? Why is the light from LED lights white? What are their pros and cons? In this passage, we will let you know more about these two kinds of lights that emit light of different colors. Let’s get to it!

What are those orange street lights?

We will review the history of the street lights to find the answer. After the bulbs of the street lights started to use electricity, the incandescent lamps were the light source for a long time. But its light efficiency is too low due to the huge amount of heat emission, so experts kept working on new light sources that could replace them. Then, experts found the principle of inert gas glowing under pressurization or emitting invisible light to make the phosphor glow. Those lights are low-pressure sodium lamps, high-pressure mercury lamps, and high-pressure sodium lights.

To be specific, it is the light emitted by sodium that is orange or yellow. Scientists chose sodium as the light source because they wanted brighter light and a relatively high efficiency. In the first place, sodium has a relatively high efficiency. Then it outperforms other gases because of its feature of emitting light with a wavelength between 570 and 600 nm, which is yellow light. People are very sensitive to yellow light, and when the other conditions are the same, people will find yellow light the brightest.

orange light intensity

Mercury lamps emit white light, but they are seldom used because the mercury may pollute the environment. LEDs also emit white light most of the time, but since they are a new light source, many countries have not started to replace their street lights. Therefore, the common street lights we see in our daily lives are orange sodium ones.

Pros of orange street lights

Strong but not dazzling

People’s eyes are very sensitive to yellow light, so the orange street lights will have the biggest lumen compared with light with the same power but different colors. At the same time, since the yellow light belongs to warm light, people will feel comfortable when seeing it. And it will not be as intense as the red light, which will make people feel sleepy. So it is suitable for lighting up the roads and preventing accidents.

High Fog permeability

Orange light is also the most obvious in fog. A light with a color temperature between 2200 and 5000 K is the best choice. Some LEDs that can adjust color temperature can also realize this high performance in fog permeability. High fog permeability not only lets the drivers see the road clearly but also improves their ability to identify things and make in-time reactions.

Cons of orange street lights


To compare whether the light has a high CRI, we can compare how things are reflected under sunlight and the tested light. In this way, you will find that white light has the best CRI of all. As for orange light, they cannot show the original appearance of the objects clearly.


Because of the low CRI of the orange street lights, there is potential danger on the roads and in the community. For example, citizens in San Diego have complained that because of this lighting, they cannot identify the appearance of the suspects. It is like he is wearing gray from head to toe.

Pros of white street lights


One of the main reasons why many cities are changing their street lights to LED ones is that LED helps save on costs. First, the working principle of LED lights is different from traditional ones. It can make full use of the electricity and only produce a little heat. Besides, LED lights have a sophisticated design for the distribution of light, so that all the light will illuminate the needed areas. Last but not least, LED lights always have a high lumen, which means that with the same wattage, people always perceive them as the brightest.


LED lights are produced with the most advanced technology, so they have many functions that traditional lights don’t have. For instance, if the orange light is so beneficial, you can actually create one with the LED street lights. The color temperatures of some LED lights can be controlled and changed. Operators can change the color temperatures and create cold white or warm white, which is similar to yellow light. What’s more, the LED lights can also have a smart control system, making it possible for the lights to turn on and off automatically.


Cons of white street lights

Blue light

When LED lights are working, they will produce a certain amount of blue light. If there is too much blue light, it will do harm to people’s eyes, just as electronic products, like our phones, do to us. Moreover, since blue light contains relatively huge amounts of energy, it is likely to reflect when it meets the tiny particles in the air, thus causing visual discomfort and glare. This may influence the drivers and lead to accidents.


LED street lights are very bright, so they are more likely to cause light pollution. If the light in the cities is too bright, the night sky will be affected. For astronomers, it is hard to observe the stars; for birds and bugs that depend on the moonlight to find their directions, it will also be a problem.


Nowadays, most of the street lights are still high pressure sodium ones that emit orange light. Both orange and white street lights have their benefits and disadvantages, but the trend is that most people are considering changing the traditional lights into LED ones because of their economic benefits. No matter which kind of street lights you want to choose, always choose high-quality lights. And Mokolight will be one place where you can find the best LED street lights ever. We are among the leading Chinese manufacturers who commit to producing first-class LED lights. For over 17 years, we have obtained plenty of certifications like UL and BSCI, and every month we ship more than 30,000 products out to the whole world. Come and experience the most satisfying services and find the best LED lights!

Written by ——
Scott Hughes
Scott Hughes
Double Bachelor's degrees in Architecture and Electrical Engineering, 5+ years of experience with LED lighting, intelligent moving lights, and conventional fixtures
Scott Hughes
Scott Hughes
Double Bachelor's degrees in Architecture and Electrical Engineering, 5+ years of experience with LED lighting, intelligent moving lights, and conventional fixtures
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