Monday, August 22, 2016

Designing for the Dark - “Light where you need it, when you need it, and no more."

Flagstaff, Arizona was the first community to be recognized as a "Dark-Sky" community.
Photo from Architectural Record.
A great conversation has started in the lighting design industry about keeping light pollution to a minimum. A recent article by Architectural Record outlines new studies about the effects of night time light pollution, not just on humans, but also on other animals and ecosystems.  One study determined that the Milky Way is invisible to more than one-third of the world’s population, including 60 percent of Europeans and nearly 80 percent of North Americans!

Growing concern about this issue has led to the formation of groups, like the International Dark-Sky Association (known as the IDA and founded in the late 1980s by astronomers) and an increase in regulations/standards for lighting design professionals, like the model lighting ordinance (MLO) that communities can adopt in whole or in part. The MLO was developed by the IDA and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES). According to the IDA's Techincal Director, Pete Strasser, the MLO calls for “light where you need it, when you need it, and no more.” While the MLO has not been widely adopted, it has been incorporated into the LEED credit system.

Opponents of these standards argue that the guidelines over simplify the issue and that more study is needed. Read the complete article online and tell us what you think! Also, shout out to fellow IALD member, Glenn Heinmiller, who is quoted in the article.

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