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Light Pollution

Since the dawn of mankind we have been looking to the heavens in awe and amazement.  Our fascination with the universe can be traced back to monolithic structures like Stonehenge, which are believed to have acted as giant calendars by tracking the Sun, Moon and other Celestial bodies. Can you imagine what those early star gazers were able to see in those ancient night skies? Many of us can’t as we live near major metropolitan centers which are the largest contributors to Light Pollution.

Light Pollution is defined by the darksky.org website as the “inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light”. The four main components of Light Pollution as listed by darksky.org are Glare, Skyglow, Light Trespass and Clutter. Most Industrial/Commercial exterior lighting exhibits one or all of these components as a result of a badly designed, inefficient, misaligned and poorly maintained lighting system. Good News! A solution for these problems can be found in an LED lighting retrofit.

When designing an exterior LED retrofit solution the elimination of Light Pollution can be used as a key marketing benefit. The inherent properties of Solid State Lighting (SSL) will allow you to suggest a variety of output controls and strategies to support your plan. For example, the new designs of LED luminaires utilize optics to form correct distribution types, which are a major consideration when Light Trespass is a concern.  The fact that SSL is scalable and is able to integrate adaptive controls is another aspect that can be maximized to save energy and decrease Skyglow. An example of an adaptive control strategy would be the incorporation of occupancy sensors programmed with step dim points. A typical plan would have the unoccupied light output set point at 10% and 90% when occupied, only to return to its original state when again when unoccupied. Even if controls will not be used immediately it is good to plan for future adoption.

The most talked about benefits from LED Lighting that we discuss with building owners and property managers are that LED’s are energy efficient and require low maintenance. The overlooked benefit that needs to be in our discussion is the fact that an LED retrofit would have a consequential effect on eliminating light pollution. By being proactive and educating the marketplace about the inefficiencies of their existing lighting systems and its undesirable environmental effects we can create a compelling event to help change the horizon.  To learn more about Light pollution and Dark Sky Compliance visit www.darksky.org.

Written By: Mike Leptich, Arizona Lighting Solutions

 

* Photo courtesy of darksky.org : Photo by Cestomano via Flickr (CC)