Updated: Oct 25, 2017

LED light bulbs

The most common bulb types used for dark sky lights are the A19 Medium Base, MR-16, GU10, GU24 and LED. How to make out all of these choices?

  • A19 Medium Base is our normal incandescent bulb screw type, the one most of us grew up with. That will change, of course. Your options are nearly endless here. You can buy a really fancy Edison bulb (that is LED).
  • MR-16 has 2 prongs and is shaped like an outdoor spotlight. They come in warm white (2700-3500K) and cool white (6000-7000K). Basically, the cool white will give you a bluish glow while the warm white is more orange. More like what you’d expect from an incandescent.
  • GU10 is typically corn shaped, but other shapes are available and has a bi-pin connector.
  • GU24 is the 2 pronged base or bi-pin connector for LED light bulbs, also used for CFLs, which had a short life, thankfully. So if you see GU24 it means that you can purchase any bulb with the bi-pin connector, so you can go for more normal looking bulbs if you like.

 

Dark sky compliant lighting

Many of us want to increase the value of our property by adding beautiful lighting designs. We also want to be safe. However, a floodlight with two 150-watt conventional bulbs can add $100 to the electricity bill every year, and no one needs to be wasting money like that. Smart designs are more efficient, easier on the pocketbook, and better for the environment, too. So, here’s some advice about what to look for in well-designed outdoor lighting.

Don’t waste light (and valuable electricity) by using fixtures that allow light to shine in all directions. Light that is properly focused and aimed will use less electricity and provide more consistent exposure, which reduces glare and shadows.

Solar powered outdoor lighting

I don’t think there is anything on the market in outdoor lighting these days that is easier and more efficient than solar lights. Use around the garden, pathways, driveways, patios, even wall lighting for your doors.

Motion-sensitive lighting

Instead of opting for security lighting that will stay all on night, choose lights that have motion sensitive switches. These lights will not be on when an intruder first arrives, ensuring that they don’t know the lights are there. This is important since would-be thieves can find ways to evade always-on lighting. Lights that surprise them are harder to predict and may scare intruders away simply by catching them off guard.