“…To Preserve and Protect the Nighttime Environment and our Heritage of Dark Skies Through Quality Outdoor Lighting.”
The International Dark Sky Association has been providing guidance and helping to craft legislation combatting one of the environmental plagues of of the 20th and 21st centuries, namely, light pollution. It is their hope and mine that one day everyone will be able to see the stars while still enjoying just the right amount of nighttime lighting to keep us safe and provide what we need to enjoy our time outdoors after dark.
This information is important to every homeowner and city dweller on the planet. Reported by IDA today,
“A report released by the U.S. Department of Energy on Thursday, 08 October specified that LED exterior lighting fixtures must emit no light above 90 degrees to receive EnergyStar certification. Adoption of criteria that limits uplight for the growing field of LED fixtures will significantly reduce sky glow and curtail energy waste.
All wall mount, pole top and pole mounted outdoor LED fixtures wishing to earn an EnergyStar designation must adhere to this criteria. When asked specifically about nostalgia and antique luminaires, Jason Tuenge of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory affirmed that the fully
shielded design applies to them as well, and that “acorn” type products could not be certified if any light were emitted above 90 degrees.
This proposal will go under final review, receiving official declaration in 4 to 6 weeks, according to Richard Karney, director of the program for the DOE. If the proposal becomes law, this timely action on LED design is a powerful victory for dark sky preservation and restoration.
This will change what we sell as dark sky lighting, however most of what is currently being sold as dark sky lighting continues to qualify and meet the criteria. Acorn lighting is usually provided by solar lighting fixtures, where the light provided is currently fairly dim. However, as LED solar lighting technology continues to mature, these lights have the potential to become much brighter.
Bottom line, it’s our responsibility to be good stewards of the environment and that includes our nighttime environment.