Studies suggest that more than 80% of people worldwide live under light-polluted skies.
Step outside your home tonight and look at the sky. How many stars do you see? If you live in an urban area, the chances are you won’t see many due to light pollution.
The adverse effects of light pollution are doing more harm than we realize. Unlike global warming or a pandemic, light pollution is within our power to correct using dark sky lighting.
Find out how a breakthrough in outdoor lighting design can shift your landscape lighting in Torrey Highlands from pollution to a solution.
What is Light Pollution?
The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) defines light pollution as “the inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light.”
Interior lighting seldom contributes to light pollution, as it’s mostly contained in our homes. Lighting excess splits up into four main types of pollution:
- Glare – This is any light that is so dazzling or strong that it interferes with our sight.
- Light Trespass – This is any illumination that’s not wanted. Have you ever had someone in your Torrey Highlands neighborhood with a floodlight so bright it shines straight through your curtains and messes with your ability to sleep? That’s light trespass.
- Skyglow – This is the bubble of light that brightens the night sky over cities.
- Clutter – These are pockets of excessive light grouped together.
Light pollution seems like a mere inconvenience. The warm glow of a city in the distance looks more comforting than deadly. Yet light pollution messes with nature, the economy, and our health.
The Problem with Light Pollution
Energy waste is an expensive problem. Approximately 30% of outdoor lighting in the U.S. goes to waste, according to the IDA. The cost of this wasted energy adds up to over $3 billion per year.
The effects on us are dramatic too. Blue light alters our circadian rhythm by suppressing melatonin, our sleep hormone. The blue light that does this either comes from our screens or from trespassing light. Insufficient deep sleep causes many health problems.
Wildlife is affected in the same way by light pollution. It disorientates them from natural behaviors such as migration. The long-term effects of this kind of disruption could lead to the extinction of certain species.
Four Simple Principles to Reverse Light Pollution
To stop sending vast amounts of bright light up into the night sky, there are four principles we need to keep in mind. Building your lighting design around these four things will ensure that your landscape is truly dark sky-friendly:
- Decrease the amount of light used
- Decrease the size of the area to be lit
- Decrease the length of time outdoor areas are lit
- Opt for long-wavelength light bulbs.
In short, we need less light than we think we do. Planning how to light our outdoor spaces on the basis of these four principles will ensure our gardens aren’t polluting the skies.
What is Dark Sky Lighting?
Dark Sky lighting is designed in a way that only directs lighting to where it’s needed. The design of each light fitting blocks the light from escaping upward and causing light pollution in the sky.
Using dark sky-friendly lighting fixtures in outdoor lighting design maximizes the effect of lighting without contributing to the problem of light pollution.
A 5-Step Dark Lighting Plan
Global problems can seem impossible to tackle, but when we do what we can to cut down the problem, it will help. Implementing dark sky lighting into an outdoor lighting plan in the Torrey Highlands area is a straightforward process.
- Choose to Install Shielded Lights
Choose outdoor lighting fixtures that are designed in a dark sky-friendly way. The light is directed down towards the ground and the top is shielded to prevent light spillage upward. This has the double benefit of providing enough light in the dark areas below while minimizing the glare of light pollution in the sky.
- Adapt Existing Lights
If you’ve already got an outdoor lighting design in place, you don’t have to redo your setup. Simply purchase light shields and convert your lights to be dark sky light friendly. It’s a simple adaptation, but it is an effective tool to combat light pollution.
- Cut Down on Light Wastage
Only light areas that need it. Use sensor lights where possible, as this means the lights will only be in use when needed. Timers and dimmers are effective to reduce excess light usage as well.
- Make LED Lighting Your First Choice
Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights cut down on energy waste by being highly energy efficient. Replace existing lights with LEDs, and only purchase LEDs when buying new lights. You’ll notice a difference in your power bill when you start using LED lights.
- Choose Warm Color Lights
Blue light brightens the sky more than other colors. To avoid blue light, choose lights with color temperatures between 2000K and 3000K. This range of light emits a warm glow that has a less harmful effect on us, as well as the environment.
Not Sure About Using Dark Sky Outdoor Lighting?
If you’re not sure that installing dark sky lighting is going to meet your outdoor lighting needs, why not try a free three-day trial?
After a free consultation, our lighting technician will come in and set up temporary lights and fine-tune them to your desires. You get to try out the setup for three days at no charge before making your decision.
Dark Sky Lighting: The Smart Choice for the Planet and for the People of Torrey Highlands
There are many things in our lives we don’t have control over, but light pollution isn’t one of them. Looking after your budget, your health, and the well-being of our planet is easier to do with the right lighting partner.
To reinvent your outdoor lighting design to be dark sky lighting compliant, speak to us today. Whether you’re doing a complete overhaul or simply adapting what you’ve got, we can help. Contact us today to discuss our full range of dark sky lighting options in Torrey Highlands.