Did you know 80% of Americans can no longer see the Milky Way? Why? The cause is light pollution.

Light that goes up is a waste of resources. The Dark Sky Association reports approximately 30% of outdoor lighting in the U.S. is wasted each year and mostly from lights that are not shielded. It adds up to $3 billion of wasted energy.

Design to reduce pollution

courtesy Shutterstock/Neinora

We can control out light pollution and it begins up front with design. Residential and business property owners and managers can make a difference by following simple guidelines:

  • Reduce glare – excessive brightness.
  • Avoid light trespass – light falling where it is not needed.
  • Don’t create light clutter by using bright, confusing and excessive groupings of lights.
  • Choose full cut-off, shielded fixtures that direct light downward.
  • Select proper brightness based on lumens and not wattage; 100-200 lumens is adequate.
  • Work with a professional who knows CCT and select less than 3000K, preferably 2700K.

These technical terms may be TMI for many of us. The takeaway is to work with a design pro who understands lumens, Color Correlated Temperature (CCT) and degrees Kelvin (K).

Light pollution has only been studied for a few years and most people are unaware of its impact. Here’s where we can take a lesson from recycling: It started small and now it is a big part of our collective culture. One person and one smart step at a time, we can also start to tackle light pollution right where we live most — in our own back yards.

Information courtesy Bryan Cashion, Ph.D., environmental engineer, retired, and Sara Ungrodt, landscape architect. Article excerpt courtesy Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

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May 2018 HGenews