In 2016 as much as 99% of the continental U.S. had some form of light pollution. In fact, almost 80% of North America could no longer see the Milky Way because of light-polluted skies.
The irony here lies in how artificial light is the culprit behind this problem. The lighting technology supposed to boost visibility is hiding the nighttime skies.
However, there’s more to light-polluted skies than just obscuring our views of the galaxy. It also affects our health and even disrupts wildlife and the ecosystem.
That’s why it’s important to learn more about this type of pollution, and what you can do to reduce your contribution. Many of the light pollution solutions are quite simple and doable at home with landscape lighting.
The Lowdown on Light Pollution
Light pollution refers to the excessive or improper use of artificial light. Glare, excessively bright glowing night lights, and sky glow are some of the main causes of light pollution. Another is stray light that illuminates areas it doesn’t need to, otherwise known as light trespass.
Either way, too much traditional electricity-powered lighting is harming us and the environment. Below are only a few ways that this happens.
Effect on Humans
Exposure to excessive artificial lights alone can already cause health effects. Aside from eye strain, fatigue, and headaches, it can also result in poor sleep quality. In some people, it might even cause seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and depression.
Radical Alteration of Ecosystems
Nocturnal animals use the darkness of the night to hunt for food. Prey species hide in the dark to protect themselves.
Unfortunately, light pollution has turned these creatures’ nights into an endless day. There’s neither enough darkness for effective hunting, nor for adequate hiding. The result is the same though: dwindling populations due to starvation or overfeeding.
What You Can Start Doing Now
Your San Diego home is the best place to start your efforts in fighting pollution caused by light. The right choices in outdoor lighting is already a step closer to bringing back the Milky Way to our night sky.
Here are a few methods that you can implement right at home to help reduce light-polluted skies.
Use Warmer Lighting
Since you’ll mostly use your outdoor lights at night, consider getting warm-colored lights. Warm outdoor color temperature is more yellowish or orange. Not only does it look more like natural light, it also helps promote relaxation.
More than that, warm lights have less “blue light” in them, which is a key contributor to sky glow. That means they have less impact on light pollution than strong and bright blue or white lights.
Warm lighting is also best for outdoor gathering areas, and even your patio or gazebo. They’re closer to natural light than blue light, making them more human-centric.
Install Adjustable LED Lighting Systems
Adjustable LED lights should also be part of your home exterior lighting project. For starters, they consume 80% less energy than incandescent lights. They also use 40% less power than fluorescent lighting products.
That translates to considerable energy savings or lower utility bills. Plus, LED lights have a longer lifespan than other lighting products.
Second, there are many LED lights that give off the above-explained warmer light. Furthermore, you’ll find exterior LED lighting systems with adjustable or “dimmable” features. Not only does dimming help reduce light pollution, they can also set the vibe of your outdoor space.
Keep Light Trespass at Bay with Spot Lighting
Spotlighting is a great illuminating technique for outdoor sculptures. At the same time, it helps reduce excessive use of artificial outdoor lighting. That’s because spotlights emit light focused on a specific area.
Since they have “concentrated” light, it can help reduce light trespass. They cut the brightness of artificial lighting that can reach all the way to the nighttime skies. This characteristic also makes them a good option for illuminating walkways.
Invest in Shielded Light Fixtures
Shielded light fixtures keep lights from straying and adding to sky glow. Plus, they also help dim the light produced by the bulb. They also protect the light bulb itself against environmental factors.
Reduce Light Usage with Motion Sensors
Did you know that in 2017, California’s property crime rate was 2,491 per 100,000 residents? That represents a 2.1% decrease from the rate back in 2016. Still, that’s above the nationwide rate of 2,362 per 100,000 residents.
That said, motion detectors can be a crucial addition to your home’s safety and security. At the same time, they can also reduce your contribution to pollution by light.
First, they only light up when they sense motion or heat waves from movement. That means they’re not producing any light before they detect movement. Furthermore, they automatically turn off after a few minutes, depending on the settings.
Use Timers for Your Outdoor Lights
Light timers also help you cut your household’s illumination levels. You can set the timer to power the outdoor lights on and off at specific times. As a bonus, timers also help you trim your lighting-related energy use and expenses.
Protect the Skies and the Environment with these Outdoor Lighting Solutions
While light pollution may not be as well-known as air, land, or water pollution, it’s still a danger to all of us. It kills many sea turtle hatchlings and interferes with species migration. It also disrupts the reproduction cycle of certain animals, such as frogs.
So, it’s time you do your part in clearing the nighttime skies. Start with the tips we discussed above so you can bring your home’s light emissions down.
Ready to make the right outdoor lighting choices to help curb light-polluted skies? Then please feel free to connect with us now! We can give you the guidance you need to make your San Diego home safe and secure while also reducing pollution.