The Latest in Outdoor Lighting Regulations and Technology

A conference that deals specifically with outdoor lighting is the Lightfair International conference, known as LFI. This year the conference was held in Leeds, offering a range of session and classes all based around outdoor lighting. Some examples of topics include Model Lighting Ordinance, MLO, and learning about how humans see light. Several lighting specialists provided energy saving ideas and practices, such as how to reduce carbon emissions, energy and light pollution with area and street lighting.

One of the biggest concerns that was a trend at the conference was the issue with inconsistent regulations around the world. Each city and country has different brightness levels, some below the recommended limit and other countries far exceeding recommended levels. Most agree that less night is best at night but there is a fine balance between reducing brightness and maintaining a safe environment.

The Model Lighting ordinance refers to ways that can minimize excess light produce by two organizations: International Dark-Sky Association and Illuminating Engineering Society. These ordinances are set in place to improve enjoyment of the night sky, save energy and minimize light impact to animals and people. The first of the MLO was released on June 14 and does not address energy issues, only light issues. This ordinance describes five different zones and the best types of lighting and light practices for each area. Zone zero refers to a rural area with no lighting issues while the highest zone, four, refers to high light areas such as Las Vegas.

City planners can then choose to implement the MLO recommendations that best fit their areas needs, based on the zones. Two cities that are the first to adopt the MLO are Anchorage, Alaska and Plymouth, Montana. Researchers have determined that the MLO success will depend on the city planners and making the correct decisions for each area.

Other topics that were investigated include how humans see light as most people see vertical light rather than horizontal bands. In this way lights can be tailored to expend the correct bands of light and no other extraneous bands that are not seen by the human eye. Continuing works look to reduce light pollution and provide energy saving technology and tips for outdoor lighting.

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