When was the last time you really saw the beautiful night sky? Was it in your backyard last night or your last camping trip? Too often, the breathtaking night sky is just a summer memory, overshadowed by street lamps and light pollution.
That’s where Dark Sky lighting comes in. Dark Sky outdoor lighting is designed to point the light towards the ground and not up into the sky, where it can contribute to light pollution. In fact, a growing number of communities are now introducing dark sky ordinances that require dark sky outdoor lighting with specific types of reflectors, shields, cut-off angles, and bulbs.
Seem drastic? You’d be surprised how far-reaching the effects of overly bright outdoor lights can be. Not only do they add to light pollution and make it difficult to enjoy the stars, but they also disrupt the natural cycle of nocturnal animals. Excessively bright lights can also cause “sky glow”, an unnatural, manmade illumination of the sky that resembles smog.
Luckily, Dark Sky lighting is becoming increasingly common, and there are plenty of ways to transform your outdoor lighting to meet these new guidelines. Start from scratch with stylish, efficient new fixtures, or try some of the tips below.
- Consider adding a motion sensor on your outdoor lights. It’ll turn on the light when needed and turn it off automatically when it’s not.
- Instead of a new fixture, try a new bulb. Decreasing the lumens of outdoor bulbs makes for better night lighting, since it illuminates the area only as needed.
- Consider shading your outdoor fixtures, blocking light from entering the sky unnecessarily. You can also point your fixtures at the ground to increase the accuracy of the light.
- Avoid using light that crosses property lines. This can detract from property values and irritate neighbors, so try to be considerate by angling lights away from neighbors’ fences and windows.
Make your nights clearer and your lights smarter by investing in Dark Sky lighting. Not only does it protect the environment, it boosts your efficiency and saves you money. Not a bad deal, right? So give it a try and go enjoy those stars.