Every year, especially if you live in a city, you can see less and less stars. Light pollution from homes, businesses, cars makes it harder and harder to enjoy the night sky. This is what started the “Dark Sky” movement and has prompted some towns and cities to implement Dark Sky ordinances. If you are preparing to change the outdoor lighting at your home or business, you might want to consider not only the efficiency of your lights but their ability to light the ground rather than the sky.
Everything that makes light reduces our ability to see the heavens.
We all know this when we head out of town. Not properly shielding lights allows that light to travel upwards, blocking what is coming down from the heavens. Skyglow in cities, that’s the orange haze you see over major metro areas is mostly manmade by our over-illumination. But there are ways you can, even just a little, help curb that skyglow.
In fact this is mandatory for earning ComEd incentives. We can then work with you to determine the best ways to light the area around your building and not the area above it. We know how important it is to keep paths lit, but we also want to be sure the light stays on the path and isn’t reflected. These fixtures are also more efficient since you aren’t wasting electricity into space. The International Dark-Sky Association has offered some simple guidelines when it comes outdoor lighting and some communities in the U.S. have adopted them –
Use the lowest wattage of lamp that is feasible. The maximum wattage for most commercial applications should be 250 watts of high intensity discharge lighting, but less is usually sufficient.
Incorporate curfews (i.e. turn lights off automatically after a certain hour when businesses close or traffic is minimal).
In regards to safety, one needs only the right amount of light, in the right place, at the right time. More light often means wasted light and energy.
While some of these aren’t feasible in the larger cities, considering Dark Sky options is a great way to save money on your electrical bills while also keeping the stars shining bright for the next generation, and also earn LEED points – www.usgbc.org/leed/certification