Developing Tech Requirements For Outdoor Lighting Looks To The Night Sky

By Dorene Maniccia

Even those who are usually indifferent to stargazing couldn’t resist finding out about last month subsequent weeks of media buildup concerning the year’s best meteor shower, the Perseids, august 11 and 12 peaking, 2021. Peppered among articles about how exactly, where, and when to view the shooting stars had been other stories aswell, however. Some doubted the opportunity to start to see the annual spectacle, blaming the growing rarity of naturally dark skies which have enabled humans for connecting with the universe for millennia.

Those lamenting that loss aren’t imagining as well as exaggerating it, scientific research shows. In accordance with an atlas of night sky brightness released in the journal Science Advances encompassing over a decade of satellite data and 30,000 on-the-ground measurements, a third of most people on Earth, which includes nearly 80% of AMERICANS, now can’t start to see the Milky Way because of rapid upsurge in artificial light during the night.

Photo: DesignLights Consortium

Whether you’re an amateur astronomer or perhaps a business thinking about conserving electricity and preserving energy costs, light pollution is really a relevant topic – and something with urgency, as research released in 2017 exposed artificially-lit outdoor areas are usually developing at an annual rate of 2.2% worldwide. While outdoor illumination clearly aids human safety and navigation, these benefits come with costs. Claims of harm linked to artificial light during the night range between disrupting human sleep patterns and disorienting migratory birds and sea turtles to hindering astronomical research and losing electricity.

On the latter point, the National Conference of State Legislatures notes that “vast amounts of dollars are invested in the U.S. every year to light our streets, shopping areas, office complexes, and sites useful for energy development” but much is usually wasted “because so many light fixtures are usually either poorly developed or emit light aimed in the incorrect direction.” The International Dark Sky Association (IDA) reports a third of most outdoor lights in the U.S. is definitely wasted – largely by unshielded fixtures, costing facility owners some $3.3 billion annually. And, the IDA highlights, since wasted illumination derives from wasted energy generation, additionally it is in charge of 21 million a great deal of carbon emissions annually, making light pollution one factor in the climate crisis.

As the cost of wasted electricity is obviously an issue for all those considering outdoor light projects, light pollution provides other implications for facility owners and managers aswell. Following the “triple important thing” principle, many companies now consider not only financial profit, but also advantages to people and the earth when measuring success. Factors such as for example investment in environmental sustainability and wellness and consideration of employee workplace satisfaction have got gained significance when it comes to corporate standing up, reputation, and employee retention and recruitment.

Consequently, it’s unsurprising that the “green” building market keeps growing exponentially as employers and employees alike increasingly link sustainability features to job satisfaction and performance. Between 2006 and 2018, the amount of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings in the U.S. improved from 296 projects to 67,200 . On the list of areas of a building project qualified to receive LEED certification points will be light pollution reduction , with requirements meant “to improve night sky access, improve nighttime presence and reduce the effects of development for folks and wildlife.” Similarly, consideration of artificial light during the night counts toward the WELL Building Institute’s certification of spaces and communities that advance health insurance and well-being. Both Institute’s Community and Building Standards award points to projects that mitigate nighttime light pollution, with the business maintaining that lighting “ought to be planned to increase benefits and to decrease light pollution, light trespass and adverse health outcomes.”

Photo: DesignLights Consortium

Meanwhile, some government entities are relocating to create clear parameters round the types of outdoor illumination facility developers can install within state and local boundaries. Nearly two dozen states possess laws regulating outdoor light during the night for some reason, the most recent being truly a 2021 Nevada law championed by the state’s Division of Outdoor Recreation. Efforts come in numerous municipalities round the country underway, as well. Recent for example proposed local ordinances in Missouri and Washington; provisions governing a streetlight project in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and a citizen advocacy movement on Nantucket (Massachusetts), where satellite data indicates light pollution offers improved 22% in nine years.

In late August, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto introduced a “Dark Sky Lights” ordinance that could apply to newly set up or retrofitted streetlights and newly built and renovated parks, playgrounds, and municipal buildings. September the Pittsburgh City Council is anticipated vote on the measure in early.

presenting Dark Sky legislation

“By, the city can be advancing its commitment to reduced amount of energy consumption further, and elimination of waste relative to our Climate Action Plan goals,” Peduto mentioned a news conference. “Our park city and spaces facilities should serve because the model for others to check out.”

LUNA Specs TO HANDLE Outdoor Lighting

A global non-profit whose mission encompasses both energy efficiency and the product quality and controllability of lights to benefit people and the surroundings, the DesignLights Consortium (DLC) can be working on this matter. Collaborating with electric utilities, along with light manufacturers, industry stakeholders, and designers, the DLC establishes product quality and performance specifications that inform energy efficiency incentive programs that utilities offer with their commercial and industrial customers. Year last, night we launched an attempt to greatly help mitigate the negative impacts of artificial light at. Our new LUNA ( (Light Usage for Night Applications) specifications will supplement the DLC’s existing technical requirements for solid-state lighting (i.e., LED) luminaires, identifying energy conserving luminaires that minimize light pollution, are controllable, provide suitable visibility for limit and folks negative impacts to the surroundings.

Currently undergoing another round of review having an updated draft expected in mid-September, the DLC’s LUNA specification supports the Illuminating Engineering Society’s five principles once and for all outdoor lighting, recommending that lighting:

  1. Be installed only once and where there’s a clear purpose;
  2. Be targeted, directing the light beam downward so that it doesn’t spill beyond where it’s needed;
  3. Be no brighter than necessary;
  4. Be controlled with timers, motion detectors, and other technology that allows lights to be dimmed when turned and possible off when not needed; and
  5. Use warmer colors, limiting shorter (blue-violet) wavelengths proven to contribute most to light pollution.


The DLC anticipates finalizing the LUNA technical requirements by the end of the, at which time manufacturers shall be able to list and qualify their products to the specification. Lighting project designers will have the ability to easily search for and choose LED outdoor lighting products which are both energy efficient and also have characteristics that enable best environmental practices for nighttime illumination.

Research continues to document the detrimental impacts that nighttime sky glow, light glare and trespass have on people and the environment. By reining in the usage of unshielded, uncontrolled, excessive and designed outdoor lighting poorly, we can lessen these impacts while saving energy carbon and costs emissions.

Maniccia may be the Director, Market Strategy and Development for the DesignLights Consortium (DLC). For more information about light pollution, responsible outdoor lighting, and LUNA, please go to the DLC website at: .

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