If you live in or near a major metropolitan area, have you ever stopped to consider what the sky looks like at night? In the 24-7 world we live in, our cities and towns are so brightly lit, when we look up into the night sky, all we often see is a blank haze. This artificial illumination has created light pollution, which hides the beauty of the stars, interrupts the natural rhythms of animals and insects, impacts human health, and wastes millions of dollars.
Light pollution is classified into three categories. Sky glow is the light that shines into the night sky and creates a glow over urban and suburban areas. Glare is the light that shines into people’s eyes as they drive or walk. Light trespass is unwanted light that shines into a neighbor’s property or home.
The movement to preserve the night sky started many years ago with ecologists’ concerns about wildlife on the east and west coasts, specifically the sea turtles that breed on the coastlines. Over time, and as consumers have become more energy conscious, dark-sky issues have gained momentum. Many cities and towns across the country are adopting various ordinances to limit light pollution and some have implemented dark-sky codes and regulations. The International Dark Sky Association evaluates and awards lighting fixtures that meet their requirements with a seal of approval. About 75 lighting manufacturers have outdoor lighting fixtures that have earned the designation and the number is expected to grow. To earn the seal of approval outdoor fixtures must comply with the following:
1. Designed and installed to be fully shielded (full cutoff)
2. Have a maximum lamp wattage of 25 watts HID (or lumen equivalent) for commercial lighting, 100 watts incandescent, and 26 watts fluorescent for residential lighting (or approximately 1,600 lumens).
3. In residential areas, light should be shielded such that the lamp itself or the lamp image is not directly visible outside the property perimeter.
Here are a few of our favorite dark sky fixtures:
Hinkley Lighting’s Atlantis collection, shown above, is available in seven sizes with finish options in bronze, titanium and satin white. Atlantis is a chic solution for the eco-conscious homeowner.
Hand forged in Vermont, the Airis collection from Hubbardton Forge is available in three sizes, five finishes and with either seeded clear glass or a stainless steel mesh tube.
Franceasi is a beautiful traditional dark-sky collection from Kichler, available in four sizes in an Olde Bronze finish.
Regulations and ordinances regarding dark-sky compliance vary among municipalities. For more information about dark-sky requirements and to see dark-sky outdoor lighting fixtures on display, visit our showroom and speak with one of our knowledgeable lighting specialists.