Collaboration Addresses Light Pollution

IDA and IES adopt Five Principles for Responsible Outdoor Lighting to advance quality lighting

light pollution
Unshielded bright white streetlights spill light onto building facades and into houses.
Credit: Public Lighting Authority.

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) announced a strategic collaboration to address the global issue of light pollution that negatively affects our environment and the human condition.

The IDA is comprised of volunteer advocates that help protect the night from light pollution and celebrate the many benefits of a dark, star-filled sky. IES is a 501(c)(3) non-profit professional society and the recognized technical and educational authority on illumination with a mission to improve the lighted environment.

The Boards of Directors of IDA and IES have unanimously adopted Five Principles for Responsible Outdoor Lighting (below). By joining forces, IDA and IES seek to guide the outdoor lighting industry in the U.S. and beyond to be more socially and environmentally responsible.

light pollution
By installing new well-shielded and controllable 3000K streetlights, the City of Tucson has reduced light pollution, saved on energy costs, and is keeping residents moving at night.
Credit: Bettymaya Foott, IDA.

“The Five Principles for Responsible Outdoor Lighting that unite our organizations are based on simple ideas; limit light at night to where and when it is needed, don’t over light, and be sensitive to environmental concerns,” said Brian Liebel, Director of Standards and Research for the IES. “Following these Principles is not difficult and results in more effective and comfortable lighting installations.”

In recent years, light pollution has increased globally by two percent per year. The indiscriminate use of electric lighting at night leads to at least $3 billion in wasted energy in the U.S. alone. This wasted light can harm wildlife, imperil important astronomical research, and can obscure our view of the star-filled sky.

“By following these simple principles, electric lighting at night can be beautiful, healthy, and functional. These principles work together to reduce light pollution, save energy and money, and minimize wildlife disruption,” said Ruskin Hartley, Executive Director of IDA.

Future avenues for engagement between the two organizations include convening experts to advance a new metric to characterize the color quality of outdoor electrical lighting, assessing and updating the Model Lighting Ordinance adopted by IDA and IES in 2011, and working to educate and inform municipalities and individuals about how these principles can be applied to save money and advance quality lighting that protects the night.

light pollution

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