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· Why do we tolerate bad lighting?. Written and researched by Marc Sandberg, IDA. Introduction. Facts: We cannot live without light at night. When executed properly it can benefit our well being and help to enhance safety.

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· Why do we tolerate bad lighting?

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Why do we tolerate bad lighting l.jpg

· Why do we tolerate bad lighting?

Written and researched by Marc Sandberg, IDA


Introduction l.jpg

Introduction

Facts:

  • We cannot live without light at night. When executed properly it can benefit our well being and help to enhance safety.

  • More is not always better! Adding more light to an area often has a negative affect on safety and visual acuity. Too much light wastes money.

  • Poorly administered lighting does more harm than good. It wastes energy, costs more, increases air pollution, crosses property lines, reduces visual acuity, hampers safety, compromises security, and irritates neighboring property owners.

  • Improperly applied light at night can affect our health by tampering with our endocrine system. Even small amounts of light can provide an imbalance of the hormone melatonin that affects our sleep patterns and our immune systems.


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The Five Components of Poor Lighting

  • Glare – Obtrusive and inappropriately applied outdoor lighting generates glare. Glare is any light that is in your direct vision (why do most indoor lights have shades on them!). Glare is never beneficial for improved vision. We could fix this problem if we only knew what to do.

  • Light Trespass – Light from a neighbor, business or roadway that spills onto your property, without your consent. This is similar to someone playing their stereo too loud at night keeping you awake. Why tolerate glare when we understand it is not beneficial?

  • Energy Waste –Light shining outward and upward into the sky is wasted. This waste is estimated at costing Two Billion Dollars annually. This is a lot of money to see the bottoms of clouds, birds, and airplanes.

  • Environment – Lights at night confuse and harm animals and birds, distresses trees, and increases air pollution.

  • Urban Sky Glow –This is what you see when you look at a city from a distance, a dome of light covering a large area of the sky and blocking your view of the stars.


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What are the problem indicators?Sky Glow

Facts:

  • Does your night sky look like the photo on the left or the photo on the right?

  • That glow in the sky on the right wastes enormous amount of money!

  • Skyglow is not an indication of progress. It only indicates poor administration.

Night of Blackout – 60 second exposure

Night after Blackout – 30 second exposure


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Glare

Facts:

  • No designer ever intended to create a bad design but sometimes one truly must wonder. More is not always better and glare is always bad for our vision. How bad can it get? Have you ever experienced a similar condition while driving?

Photo courtesy of RAB Lighting


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Glare-Good lighting can improve safety!

Facts:

  • Lighting is only good when glare is controlled. This couple was walking right into the path of your car on the previous page, too! Would shielded lighting provide a benefit with safer solutions for the community?

Photo courtesy of RAB Lighting


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We Need Security Lights, Don’t We? What are you lighting up?

Many overly bright security lights obscure more than they reveal.

Girl moved 4 feet to stand next to pole


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Glare and Security What are you lighting up?

Many overly bright security lights obscure more than they reveal.

Same picture taken with flash


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Glare - Good lighting can improve safety!

Facts:

  • Obtrusive outdoor lighting often happens. Lighting is only good when glare is controlled and the source is discrete.


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Light Trespass

Facts: The problem of trespass occurs in nearly every community!

  • Lighting only provides benefits to society when the light is controlled and the source of illumination is discrete.

  • Light only where and when needed. Does shielded lighting provide a safer and more attractive solution in the application on the right?


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Cure Trespass - Use Full Cutoff Lights


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Environment

The light confuses the tree as to the season.

The foliage of trees grown in continuous lighting may be

larger in size and more susceptible to air pollution and

water stress during the growing season because the

stomatal pores in leaves remain open for longer periods.


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Environment

Tens of millions of migrating birds die every year due to confusion from

overlighting

- Crash into buildings, towers

- Greater problem during migration season


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Light Pollution Causes Energy Waste on a Global Level!

Outdoor Lighting is only good when:

  • Glare is controlled and when it uses only as much light as needed;

  • When it shines on the task area only; and

  • When it does not shine above the horizontal plane.

Photos courtesy of NASA


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Why do anything?

You can’t be bothered? Left unaddressed the waste problem gets significantly worse!

  • Notice the progression over 7 years (1992-1999). The culprit is unshielded lighting caused by lack of education and lack of fair and comprehensive regulations. The annual cost (~$2B) to erase the stars from the night sky provides no benefit to us:

DSMP - 1999


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What is the solution?

Facts: We can have as much light as we need without the waste!

  • Use only as much light as needed with shielded fixtures, keep it below the horizontal plane and turn off the power when nobody is present to benefit.

  • State laws currently address Light Pollution in 9 states.

  • 14 states had new Light Pollution Bills in their legislative sessions in the last several years.

  • Some community ordinances address ALL outdoor lighting within their jurisdiction causing fair and effective solutions for ongoing problems (example, Fannin and Cherokee counties in Georgia).

  • Every contribution helps! Shield and aim all lights on your own property properly so the illumination remains within your own property lines.


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Conclusions?

Facts: "Light Pollution" - The Only Pollution that Costs More to Perpetuate than to Eliminate!

  • With improved efficiencies in lighting and design, the cost of better lighting is cheaper than the status quo.

  • Comprehensive laws can control the waste and save precious resources (less oil and less air pollution).

  • Light Pollution reform can and does begin right in your own back yard.

  • Light Pollution grows from a combination of apathy and a lack of education. It needs a rapid and effective cure and it needs it right now before the stars disappear completely.


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What are we planning?

  • Create Light Pollution committee, determine name of effort (to get focus away from astronomy)

  • Lobby local governments on two fronts: a) reduce number and/or refit streetlights, b) adopt good lighting ordinances

  • Educate public through Sidewalk events, DSO events, and public speaking, handouts at all events

  • Develop approaches to get business involved

  • Outreach to other groups, e.g. Sierra Club, Georgia Conservancy, etc.


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Examples

  • San Diego – changed street lights to Low Density Sodium (LDS) lights, which are most cost efficient lights available – Saves $3M per year

  • Des Moines – turned off 39% of its streetlights – no increase in crime

  • Calgary - changed street lights to LDS lights- Savings of $3M per year and a reduction of 17 kilotons of carbon-dioxide emissions per year

  • Los Angeles – the sky over LA is actually darker than it was 15 years ago due to modernized street lamps


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What are your rewards to fix it?

We can have the light we need without the waste!

  • Save money and improve profit margins with lower operating costs.

  • Consume less fossil fuels (84% of electricity production) reducing additional negative impacts from soil, water, and air pollution caused by soot and ash.

  • Safer roads for drivers and pedestrians.

  • Reduce your potential liability claims because customers can see better.

  • Reduce manmade greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

  • Everyone gets a free Milky Way with each clear night simply by stepping outside and looking up after dark!


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Conclusion: IT CAN BE DONE!

  • Study the issues, review community conditions, and establish a set of comprehensive and enforceable lighting regulations that are fair to everyone.

  • Consider the eye! If lights are eye friendly they will usually be sky friendly.

  • Prohibit the of sight of direct glare and light trespass beyond property lines.

  • Require area lighting in parking lots and common areas to be shielded.

  • Require commercial lighting to be extinguished after normal business hours.


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Resources for More Information

  • International Dark-Sky Associationhttp://www.darksky.org ($30 membership fee)

  • Light Pollution Awareness Website (LiPAW) http://members.aol.com/ctstarwchr

  • Illuminating Engineering Society of North America http://www.iesna.org

  • New England Light Pollution Advisory Group http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/cfa/ps/nelpag.html

  • Virginia Outdoor Lighting Taskforce (VOLT) http://www.volt.org


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