Light pollution not only hides the stars, it wastes energy, is a significant source of carbon in the atmosphere, impacts wildlife habitat and human health, while proper lighting is more effective, attractive, and in the long run cheaper.
A major source of light pollution comes from poorly shielded and aimed area lighting fixtures provided by electric utility companies and electric coops often billed as "security" devices.
While lighting can play an important role in advancing security under some circumstances there is no objective evidence to support the conclusion that unmonitored always-on dusk-to-dawn lighting in fact enhances security. The Illumination Engineering Society recommends lighting on motion sensors as more likely effective for security purposes in residential settings.
Given the environmental consequences of light pollution and in the interest of not misrepresenting the value of their services, ANSA believes responsible utility companies should take steps to make sure that utility provided area lighting is efficient, properly shielded, of the right color and intensity, is installed to avoid trespass and needless spill light. In addition, utilities should take steps to educate consumers about the proper use of outdoor lighting in general.
While we have had some success influencing utilities in this area, we have a long way to go. This coming year we will be attempting a survey of what utilities are doing and not doing to mitigate the environmental impact of their outdoor lighting services.
If you are interested in lending your name to encourage your utility to light responsibly, please join our support list below. If you are interested in playing an active role in making this kind of change, please join our mobilize.io Utility Lighting Group.
What is Proposed - the Six Star Electric Utility Responsible Outdoor Lighting Program:
- Install only zero-uplight outdoor lighting fixtures (As Ouachita Electric and Carroll Electic Currently do)
- Us warm-colored lighting of 3000 CCT or less (warm white color - 2700 much preferred).
- Install shielding on older fixtures upon request for $35 without a monthly maintenance fee as it can´t be justified and does not promote good neighbor policy (As First Electric does).
- Institute a program to allow customers of older fixtures to upgrade to the zero uplight fixtures (also as Ouachita Electric does).
- When transitioning to LED fixtures from heirloom open bottom fixtures, reduce the lumens by at least half for high-end fixtures and two thirds for open-bottom fixtures to avoid over-lighting.
- Institute a consumer education program on the environmental impacts of outdoor lighting and the principles of how to light responsibly.