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Light Pollution

What is it? Why does it Matter?

How you Can Make a Difference?

An illustration of an outline of a lightbulb with a tree behind it.

 

 

 

You Can Make Sustainable Choices to Reduce Light Pollution!

 

 

 

 

Choose the Right Fixtures and Accessories to Reduce Light Pollution.

 

What is Light Pollution?

 Light Pollution is...

  • Unwanted or harmful manmade light

 

How Can Light be Harmful

  •  When outside light shines into our homes at night, it may create problems by...
    • Interfering with our body clocks
    • Interfering with our sleep patterns 
    • Fading our belongings
  • When light shines into the night sky, it creates problems by...
    • Hiding the beauty of the night sky
    • Interfering with wildlife
  • Light pollution wastes energy!

 

How is Wasting Energy Harmful?

  • Light pollution wastes $2.2 billion in the United States alone
  • Light pollution uses up resources, yet serves no useful purpose
    • Almost 2/3 of the electricity used in the United States comes from non-renewable fossil fuels
  • The process of generating electricity contributes to air pollution

 

An illustration of outdoor lights shining outwards into the windows of a house.

 

 

Reducing the energy we waste as light pollution can make a difference!

 

 

 

 

How Can we Reduce Light Pollution?

Modify Existing Lighting Fixtures

  • There are simple and inexpensive ways to reduce light pollution!
  • When possible, add accessories like shields, visors, or hoods to lighting fixtures
  • Make sure lights are aimed properly and are not shining directly into windows or into the sky
  • Eliminate unnecessary lighting

 

Install New Lighting Fixtures

  • If old lighting fixtures cannot be modified to prevent light pollution, consider replacing them with full cut-off or dark-sky friendly fixtures
    • Full cut-off lighting fixtures are shielded, so that their light is "cut-off' at a certain point; this makes sure that the light shines only where it is useful
    • Dark-sky refers to a night sky that allows us to see the stars clearly and is free of artificial glow from lighting fixtures
    • Dark-sky friendly lighting fixtures direct light onto walkways or streets, not into the sky

 

An image of outdoor lights with fixtures that make the light shine downwards and away from the windows of the house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consider This...

Light and Community

  • Some communities have established lighting ordinances and curfews, in order to conserve electricity, reduce unneeded or unwanted light, and preserve the beauty of the night sky

 

Light and Health

  • In 2019, the American Medical Association (AMA) resolved to support light pollution reduction efforts

 

Choosing Well

  • When replacing old fixtures, consult with an electrician who can advise you about planning and provide installation
    • Not all lighting fixtures are designed to accept accessories
    • Read all lighting fixture and accessory instructions carefully
  • When purchasing new fixtures, consider fixtures from reputable manufacturers that bear the International Dark-Sky Association's (IDA) Fixture Seal of Approval logo
    • The logo means that a fixture that has been evaluated and approved by third party certification as minimizing light pollution

 

Sources

American Medical Association. Resolution 516(A-09): Advocating and support for light pollution control efforts and glare reduction for both public safety and energy savings. Retrieved November 23, 3009

 

International Dark-Sky Association. (n.d.). Light pollution.

 

International Dark-Sky Association. (2010, April). Fixture Seal of Approval program. 

 

Mizon, B. (2002). Light pollution: Responses and remedies. New York: Springer.

 

Narisada, K., & Schreuder, D. (2004). Light pollution handbook. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.

 

Rea, M.S. (Ed.). (200). The IESNA lighting handbook: Reference and application (Ninth ed.). New York, NY: Illuminating Engineering Society of North America.

 

U.S. Department of Energy. (n.d.). Fossil fuels. Retrieved from http://www.energy.gov/energysources/fossilfuels.htm.

 

U.S. Energy Information Administration. (2010, December.) Frequently asked questions: Energy. Retrieved from http://www.eia.doe.gov/ask/electricity_lighting.

 

Authors

Paulette Heber, Ph.D.

Professor

Design, Housing, & Merchandising

 

Gina Peek, Ph. D.

Assistant Professor, Extension Specialist

Housing & Consumer

 

Reviewers

Lynne Beam

Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

 

Kathie Bergmann

Parent Child Connections

 

Gale Mills

Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

 

Claudette Reichel, Ph.D.

Louisiana State University

 

Graphic Design

Sylvia Chaney

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