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This week, we’ve posted several articles on light pollution, helping to raise awareness of the issue that plagues modern civilization. Is there anything you can do to help solve this problem? You bet. Most of the solutions don’t even cost money, and all of the solutions will ultimately save far more money than they initially consume. These steps apply to both business owners and homeowners alike.

 

(This image pictured above, for the record, shows the Cromarty’s Marine Terrace before and after it became a dark sky community – that is a community using fully shielded lights. A snippet from the photographer says the “transformation at night has been nothing short of amazing,” and “the new lights light up the road and pavement ‘like daytime’” and “sky glow is almost entirely gone.”)

 

1) Only light what needs to be lit. I know this sounds really simple, but it’s ultimately one of the best methods of solving the problem of light pollution, especially for those unable or uninterested in purchasing things to help. If you don’t need light in a room or on a certain area, don’t light it up.

 

2) Light only when you need light. This goes hand in hand with the first point. Once you determine if an area needs light, you should determine when it needs light. If you’re in the kitchen fixing a midnight snack, the bedroom, bathroom, dining room, hallway, living room, and basement don’t also need to be lit (unless you live in a studio apartment where everything is basically one room).

 

3) Use a reasonable amount of light. You don’t need an industrial grade search light to brighten your night (unless, of course, you are doing search and rescue at night). Not only will using dimmer light help preserve your night vision, thus allowing you to maneuver better in the dark, it will save money at the end of the month when the bill comes.

 

4) Only use fully shielded lights. This primarily applies to outdoor lights. A fully shielded light directs all of the generated light to the ground (which is exactly where you want it). This allows you to use a dimmer bulb to produce the same amount of light and also helps to prevent dangerous glaring/exaggerated darkness. Starry Night Lights (link below) is one of the best resources for smart lighting, whether you need outdoor, commercial, landscape, or interior lighting.
5) Shielding your existing fixture. Suppose you don’t want to go out and replace your old light fixtures with new fully shielded ones. There are a host of very cost effective light shades (search for that term on the Starry Night Lights webpage) that are able to convert your existing fixtures into a shielded fixture at minimal cost.

 

6) Install motion sensors. This will, of course, turn on the light when the sensor detects motion. This option is great for lighting outside your home as well as inside and outside your business (assuming you need 24 hour access). Fun statistic, traditionally, installing motion sensors will reduce the light’s electrical use in an upwards of 90%, which means it easily pays for itself.
7) Install reflectors. Reflectors are very cheap and effective. They are very effective for use in the driveway and reflect light that shines on them (rather than generating their own light).
The Milky Way & The Himalayas by Anton Yankovov

8) Simply get used to the dark. Even though our eyes aren’t as good at seeing in the dark as an owl’s, that doesn’t mean when the sun goes down we are blind. Our eyes are actually pretty good at seeing in the night. If you have some quick excursion into a dark environment (such as taking out the trash or getting that midnight snack) try leaving the light off. Do you really need it?

 

9) Educate yourself, your friends, and your elected officials about light pollution. Light pollution is one of those environmental pollutants that can be cleaned up without too many lasting side effects, and certainly something nature and humans will recover from within a very short time-frame. The International Dark Sky Association has some great resources for education.

 

Together, we can seriously reduce the amount of light pollution we generate.


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