Residents of cities and towns across the country are concerned about the lighting in public spaces. Whether they understand the energy implications of inefficient fixtures, are annoyed by glaring lights that flood illumination into their homes, or are star-gazers in search of a way to see what’s above their heads, Americans are tuning into the issue of good exterior lighting more and more.
As a result, individual communities are increasingly seeking regulations to limit the kind and amount of light being shone in their neighborhoods. People want to see their communities cut lighting costs while protecting the dark environment for the health of both humans and wildlife alike. And they don’t want lighting that’s going to detract from the ambiance of their own homes and outdoor spaces, either.
But up until now, many local groups had to struggle on their own, with a little help from local astronomers and other interested parties. Although some communities have adopted dark sky ordinances, it’s been a lot of work. And with a lack of awareness and education, convincing local residences of the benefits of such a program has been a challenge, too.
Despite these roadblocks, hundreds of lighting ordinances have been adopted across the country, yet the struggles continue even after they are put in place. City planners and builders alike lack the necessary expertise in these new lighting designs and so implementing the program has been a struggle, with mixed results.
Well, there seems to be some good news on the horizon for those seeking an easier way to implement dark sky ordinances where they live. In a joint venture between the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), representatives are working to develop a new Model Lighting Ordinance (MLO) that could be used as a standard that’s easy to adopt and implement, removing much of the frustration, work, and research required by those interested in bringing in sound regulations.
The MLO will hopefully be an easy-to-understand document, readable by the public and experts both, that will make possible the adaptation of light ordinances that limit the light trespass from public and private light fixtures in both large and small, rural and metropolitan communities. It will include all of the environmental and technical information to get buy-in from green groups and engineers, too.