Dark Sky Regulated Light Fixtures
What are Dark Sky Regulated Lights?
This regulation is about “light pollution” and the orange glow above the city from all the lights. The reason for this is over-lighting of various places in the city such as, malls, parking lots, and residential neighborhoods. This problem is from poor and inefficient lighting, which is not regulated in major cities.
Dark sky regulated lights are ones that cut glare and reduce sky glow, thus will eliminating wasted energy. Glare, light trespass and sky glow are components of energy being wasted for outdoor lighting.
What is glare: Glare affects motorists at night when your eyes are adjusted to the darkness. When a car passes with their lights on and will cause the motorist not able to see for a moment. This is not restricted to just vehicles at night but businesses that leave their lights on. Resolve this by aiming lights down or using a visor to dissipate the light from people’s eyes.
What is light trespass: When someone’s light is aimed at you. An example is your neighbor’s spot light shining through your window. Under the dark sky regulation, the lights must be aimed down or they must have a hood so the light is centralized to a specific spot, or motion sensors. This also affects the wildlife and throws off the ecological community.
What is sky glow: Do you remember the last time you really saw the sky? People living in major cities hardly get to see the sky for what it is because of the smog because they are seeing what you’d call “sky glow”. People living in rural areas may also experience sky glow as well. There is no reason or benefit from lighting up the sky. Properly installed outdoor lighting will prevent this. To get more information on dark sky regulations you can go to www.darksky.org.
Who is Energy Star?
Energy Star is a government agency dedicated to the awareness and promotion of energy efficient products for both consumers and manufacturers. They identify and recommend products with the highest industry standards of quality and low-energy consumption.
When you choose Energy Star certified products, you can be assured that you are doing your small but significant part in conserving energy and protecting your environment. For example, by changing all the incandescent Edison bulbs in your house to compact fluorescents, you could save a lot of money on your utility bills and services. On average, fluorescent light fixtures use at least 2/3 less energy than their incandescent counter parts, and some last up to 10 times longer. The extra 2 dollars you may pay for a compact fluorescent may in fact turn into $35 dollar savings in electricity consumption over the life of the bulb. You may visit their website for more thorough information at : www.energystar.gov
Eliminating Sky Glow
- Use Energy Star Labelled lighting: Products with an energy star label means that they use less energy meaning you will save money on your bills. They also meet the standards for energy efficiency. First off you will save money. They have low consumption of energy and meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) regulations.
- Improve Our Environment: Along with saving energy, Energy Star products help emit less air pollution from your power generator. If every room were to use energy star lighting it would keep one trillion pounds of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
- Increase Light Quality: People might think that since it is not using more energy that the light will be weak, but that is not true since we have new technology the fixtures quality is equal to or better than regular fixtures.
- Increase Safety: Fixtures with Energy Star labels follow National Fire Protection Association guidelines. Plus fluorescent bulbs are much cooler to touch than the incandescent and halogen bulbs.
Dark Sky Regulated Lights
“Starlight, star bright, first star I see tonight??” For those living in American suburbia, this little rhyme has lost a lot of its meaning. With the advent of a growing population, needs for lighting have increased ten fold in the past 25 years. Lighting affects every part of our daily lives. Far removed from the days where simple firelight extended our working hours a bit past sunset, we now have had the ability to create a 24 hour workday with every kind of illumination available to suit a task.
Streetlights, malls, Las Vegas, outdoor lights, pool lights, house lights etc, all of these have an effect on our daily environment.
What is light pollution and why is it important to eliminate?
It is the pale-yellow foggy quality in our skies that often blocks the view of stars and other celestial bodies. Light pollution affects us everyday in ways that we have become accustomed to. It is not limited just to big cities, from outer space it is common to see millions of webs of light streaming across the continents, even areas not lit! It is a concern beyond astronomers and dark sky enthusiasts. You experience light pollution when you can’t sleep at night because of your neighbor’s outdoor porch light, when a driver’s headlights are too intense for your dark adjusted eyes and the glare becomes blinding, and when all of the wild life from your rural area have vanished without a trace. You even experience light pollution when your children ask you where the big dipper is and you cannot locate it.
All that light up in the sky is wasted unnecessary energy. A light should be regulated to its specific task. It is often forgotten that light refracts and that it comes in different wavelengths and intensities. Although you may only see one beam, light is actually refracted from nearly any solid object that comes into contact with it. An over-lit shopping center can easily direct that familiar yellow haze to places it was never intentioned to light.
Who cares about this stuff and what can be done to help the problem?
There are many neighborhood associations and community leaders that are trying to preserve our natural dark skies, especially in areas that are near and around wildlife and state parks. Many communities are taking their skies back by passing legislation to regulate the use and design of “wasteful lighting.”
Such lighting is often referred to as Dark Sky Compliant, Cut -Off Lighting, Friendly Lighting or Good Neighbor Lighting, Dark Sky Regulated. These names all refer to fixtures that are especially designed to reduce upward light reflection, glare, trespassing light, inefficient energy uses, and urban glow. The lighting industry has responded by creating light fixtures that consumers can easily install with little modification to their existing systems. This response has allowed dark sky compliance to be more accessible to the general public.
By proactively choosing to use environmentally sound fixtures, everyone can make an impact. Simple technologies and modifications to outdoor fixtures like motion-sensor activated flood lights, timers; even a hooded light can immensely help the situation. Even using focused lights in lower wattages can help. It is better to think of light as an accent to the environment you are in, not the environment itself. If each person takes their part to be responsible for their space the possibilities are endless. There is a greater chance that future generations will be able to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” to an actual star and not an airplane.
Energy Efficient Lighting and Energy Star
Electricity in its current use has only existed for the past 150 years. Little thought is put into this seemingly magical modern convenience that is treated with such abundance. There was a time, where natural resources such as coal, oil and natural gas were the only sources of commercial and domestic energy. The demands were different and so was the population by more than 3 billion. More than ever with the advent of global warming and the scarcity of natural resources, the need for energy efficiency is much more prevalent. Lighting is one of the most abused energy outlets. It is left on when not used, often times it is used where and when it is not needed.
Doesn’t energy efficient equal ugly, industrial, and bulky? Is it dangerous?
The only cheap thing about energy efficient lighting is going to be your energy bill! A lot of energy efficient lighting has gained a bad reputation from their early models. Large bulky bulbs, eye straining wavelengths of light and humming ballasts are all issues of the past. Leaps and bounds have been made in improving energy efficient lighting fixtures for the average domestic consumer. The color of a light is indicated by what is called “color temperature”. There has been a huge response in the industry for innovative and stylish designs that give off brighter and more pleasant light at a lower cost. The quality is often much higher than that of traditional lighting at a similar costs. One 30 watt fluorescent often gives the same amount of light as a 100 watt incandescent.
There is now a large array of options available to consumers that do not sacrifice performance or design. As with all technologies, constant improvements are being made as well as innovative uses.
They are safe and very reliable options especially for families. Should you have young children in the house, you should have little worry over little burnt hands that have wandered onto a hot bulb. Fluorescents and LEDâ€™s are much cooler to the touch than regular halogen and incandescent fixtures. They come in a variety of intensities based the Kelvin scale of heat measurement which also determines the “color temperature” or color of the light. Because they are cooler, there are decreased incidents of exploding bulbs and fire hazard.
What else can I do to be more energy efficient?
The best and most happy consumer is the informed consumer. Do what you can to research energy efficient solutions available in your community. Many communities now issue rebates or other incentives including free upgrades to switch over to more energy efficient fixtures.
By using small modifications such as timers, motion-sensors, photo-cells as well as solar energy you can do your part to help the environment. Simply shutting off a light when you leave the room makes a difference if a million people do it. Especially in the summer and winter months, there are high demands on electricity. You can do small things like installing a ceiling fan and adjusting the blade pitch to a reverse flow during the winter to distribute “trapped heat” from the ceiling. In the summer, invest in wall units and cool only the “used” areas of the house.