Villagers Urged To Replace Outdoor Lighting To Comply With Community’s Dark Skies Designation
by Joanne Kendrick
In February 2016, Big Park/Village of Oak Creek was designated by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) as the 14th community in the world to be awarded as an International Dark-Sky Community. According to the IDA, in order to obtain Dark-Sky designation a community must show “exceptional dedication to the preservation of the night sky through the implementation and enforcement of a quality outdoor lighting ordinance, dark sky education, and citizen support of dark skies. Dark Sky communities excel in their efforts to promote responsible lighting and dark sky stewardship and set good examples for surrounding communities.” This year, the Big Park/Village of Oak Creek Dark-Sky Committee submitted its second annual report to the IDA. Annual reports to the IDA are required to ensure that the standards and objectives of the program are being upheld and progress is being made.
We ask your help in reducing Big Park/Village of Oak Creek light pollution by replacing non-compliant outdoor lighting with dark-sky compliant outdoor lighting. To determine if your outdoor lighting is compliant, please check the following:
- Fixtures are shielded on all four sides and the top
- Fixtures are pointed downward
The IDA gives some outdoor lighting guidance. Light should:
- Only be on when needed
- Only light the area that needs it
- Be no brighter than necessary
- Minimize blue light emissions
The IDA also suggests that at night we keep our blinds drawn to keep light inside. Spread the word to your family and friends and tell them to pass it on.
Many people don’t understand light pollution and the negative impact of artificial light at night. Eighty percent of Americans can no longer see the Milky Way as a result of light pollution. The night sky is part of our natural heritage; the night sky is part of our environment. So much is affected by light pollution – biological consequences not only on birds and mammals, but also on ourselves and even the insect world.
In a new study published in the journal Scientific Advances, researchers set about determining how bad light pollution has become on a global scale. Their findings reveal bad news and worse. The bad news is that the world is getting brighter at night and the worse news is that the new LED lighting is probably to blame. It’s vital when choosing LED lighting that they be reduced in brightness/lumens, fully shielded, and a wam (yellow or amber) correlated color temperature (CCT). The key is to limit (preferably eliminate) blue and green light emissions.
According to the IDA, a central deficiency of the early-generation LEDs was the excessive amount of blue light they emitted and the industry has drastically improved the efficiency of LEDs ushering in a new generation of “warmer color” products that emit less blue light. The lower Kelvin lights are cost and energy efficient, safer, better for human health and wildlife conservation, and contribute less to sky glow.
According to Flagstaff Dark-Sky Coalition (FlagstaffDarkSkies.org), for best results in any outdoor fixture use yellow lamps such as yellow compact fluorescent or amber LED. Make sure the lamp is not so large that it protrudes below the shielding of the fixture and use the lowest wattage that does the job. According to the Flagstaff Dark-Sky Coalition, they have found that FEIT amber LED (SKU A19/BUG/LED) has a much better spectrum than other products.
Light pollution, particularly the blue light emitted by LED bulbs, make it hard to stargaze. It can also cause serious consequences for wildlife whose biological rhythms and nocturnal instincts are disrupted when they are near a lot of artificial light.
We live in a beautiful part of the world where we can see the Milky Way. Let us continue to protect and preserve our night sky by doing our part to reduce light pollution. Remember, light pollution can be reduced by the flip of a switch!
For more information you can contact Joanne Kendrick, the Chair of the Big Park/Village of Oak Creek Dark-Sky Committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org.