Light Pollution

Light pollution from improper outdoor lighting wastes billions of dollars and vast quantities of natural resources annually. Starry Night Lights is committed to fighting light pollution and restoring our heritage of star-filled skies. We offer the widest selection of night sky friendly outdoor lighting for your home or business.

Light up the night with updated porch fixtures

Posted on November 8, 2010 by Noel


Minka Lavery – Great Outdoors Large Wall Light $129.99

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“KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The glow of a porch light does more than light up the night, providing safety and security. It’s a decorative element that adds to your home’s total look, and porch lights are evolving to reflect energy efficiency and light pollution concerns.

Here’s what local and national experts have to say about the latest in porch lights.

Consider alternatives to clear glass. Textured glass, such as seeded, etched or rippled, along with opaque and colored glass, are becoming more popular, says Bob Wilson of Wilson Lighting. “Texture adds to the look and feel of the fixture,” he says, and helps camouflage energy-efficient CFL bulbs and reduces glare, while amber light gives a warm glow.

Older eyes become more sensitive, and instead of providing safety, glare from a porch light can be detrimental when trying to navigate steps, says Jeff Dross, senior product manager at Kichler Lighting.

Go for energy efficiency. Easiest to do? Replace your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps. “CFLs are generally very good until extreme cold hits with temperatures consistently at zero,” Dross says.

He finds exterior lighting a great place to use fluorescents, which offer the most light for your buck.

Keep the skies dark. The dark sky movement started a decade ago in western states to fight light pollution. “There’s a whole shift in how we light the out of doors,” says Tom Patterson, director of product development at Hinkley Lighting.

Instead of light leaking up and horizontally, the light from porch lights shines down, illuminating where you’re walking. The International Dark Sky Association even gives its seal of approval to lights that pass muster.

“You can do with one-third of wattage used,” Patterson says. “Tie it in with fluorescent, and the fixture is even more efficient while still safe and effective.”

Look for different metals. Porch lights were once polished brass, but that finish fails to weather well in some climates.

Aluminum has become a popular choice, and it can be painted different colors. Dross says he’s seeing more neutral-tone grays. Other popular metals are nickel and brushed nickel, stainless steel and dark bronze.”

Starry Night Lights offers a variety of shielded lighting fixtures for any style and budget. These not only help direct the light downward, but make your home a better investment for the future. Even better, if you use motion sensor lighting fixtures, one can reduce their energy consumption even more as well as help improve their home security system. Really, it’s a win-win situation. You, as the consumer, have the greatest power of all: choice. Do the research, find the facts and work out the best solution for your home. Starry Night Lights will continue to fight the good fight against light pollution and will always advocate for darker, more pristine skies!

Let there be night!

Light pollution dulls the night sky for stargazers – and drains city funds

Posted on May 26, 2010 by Noel


“Walk around Chicago during the day and you’ll see that wasted lighting isn’t just a problem at night.”

Spencer Rinkus/MEDILL


“Experts advise that using less light doesn’t mean you have to turn the lights off. Purchasing lights that direct illumination downward greatly improves energy efficiency.”

Information courtesy of Johns Hopkins University.

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“When you think about electricity, it’s not just flipping on your light switch and the street lights go on. It impacts the air, it impacts the water, it impacts the land, tremendously. If you assume maybe 6 or 7 cents per kilowatt hour, we calculated it out to $18 million per year. If you think maybe 30 percent of the light is being lost from those 225,000 lights, that’s $6 million dollars going nowhere.” – Debra Norvil, “a former environmental compliance engineer for ComEd. She is now a light conservation advocate who draws on years of experience at coal-burning power plants.”

It seems as if news’ headlines across the globe utter the words ‘financial cutbacks’ daily. As a consequence of budget cutbacks, many people, businesses and governments have been considering reducing their lighting budget. Whilst many individuals a cry foul to darkened streets and issues of safety, proper lighting principles makes walking outside at night even safer. How? Shielded lighting directs the light downward, where it is needed. Though coupling traditional high pressure lights with shielding would work, it would still be a costly solution over time. High pressure lights are woefully inefficient and consume exorbitant amount of energy. Replacing a high pressure sodium light with high efficiency LED or CFL bulb will reduce the required energy input, but will not affect its lumen output whatsoever. If one wishes to further improve their shielded lighting fixtures with high efficiency light bulbs, one can utilize motion sensors. Motion sensors will allow for the light to turn on when there is movement in the vicinity and it’s a sure sign to alert anyone that there’s someone or something nearby. Considering these options, try to imagine the savings. Small towns could save some money. Medium sized cities could also save a considerable amount of money. Metropolises’ could save an absolute fortune. Shielded lighting + high efficient light bulbs + motion sensors = a bright idea.

Let there be night!

Things to Do in Sharm El Sheikh: Stargazing

Posted on May 24, 2010 by Noel


Stargazing in the clear Egyptian night

On my last trip to Egypt, I saw the rings of Saturn, craters on the moon and a shooting star—all on a clear night overlooking the Red Sea at Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh Egypt.

That’s thanks to the Resort’s stargazing programme. The clear air and lack of light pollution make the Sinai Peninsula an ideal place to explore the night sky, and Four Seasons offers weekly sessions with an astronomer and a top-of-the-range 8-inch Meade telescope.

Our astronomer, Paula Müller—there are several—led us through the night sky to help us understand the size and complexity of the universe. She wove in facts with the mystery and mythology innate in astronomy, introducing us to planets, stars and well-known constellations.

She also linked the stars to ancient Egypt. For example, the Pharaohs knew when it was time to take the farmers out of the fields and put them to work on other projects by keeping an eye on Sirius, because its rising over Memphis predicted the annual arrival of the Nile floods.

Viewing the rings of Saturn was a thrill, as was taking a good look at the craters on the moon—its arid desolation jumped out at me through the lens of the telescope. Stargazing the desert sky is an unexpected adventure for all ages; and if you’re more interested, the Resort can arrange for a field trip out into the desert with the astronomer and an even bigger telescope!

I find it humbling to know that the ancients before us derived much pleasure from stargazing the heavens above. Despite our technological advances, people will always be able to navigate from the stars, know which season it is from the positions of the constellations and see other planets in the skies. Yet, there’s one thing that threatens our ability to use the stars. It’s light pollution. Light pollution is a harmful human manifestation that negatively affects all sentient life on Earth. If current lighting trends continue, that is, unshielded lighting fixtures with old incandescent bulbs, much of the globe will never never be able to see the Milky Way Galaxy. Notice how I didn’t included the word ‘again’ after ‘Galaxy’ in the preceding sentence. Light pollution is 100%, no ifs or buts, irreversible. If we abandon old lighting principles and adapt to new lighting principles, light pollution will become a faint memory in human history. A good place to start, lies in local government participation. Express your dissatisfaction with current lighting principles and encourage your community to retrofit existing lighting fixtures. Remember the old adage, “you don’t know if you have something good, until you lose it?” For stargazers today, they know they’re losing something good. But what about future generations, where the stars above are ‘known’ only through pictures? The time to act is now.

Let there be night!

More night: Fighting light pollution

Posted on April 19, 2010 by Noel


Newburyport at night from above.
Wicked Local Photo by Nicole Goodhue
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“Astronomers were among the first to record the negative impacts of wasted lighting on scientific research, but for society as a whole, the adverse economic and environmental impacts of wasted energy are apparent in everything from the electric bill to the dwindling natural environment.”


Light pollution hasn’t just made the night’s sky a little brighter; for most of us, it’s dramatically brighter,”
said Kelly Beatty, a senior contributing editor for Sky & Telescope magazine and board of directors member for the International Dark-Sky Association.

Dr. Mario Motta, long time Newburyport, Massachusetts resident, is concerned about his community. Whilst he dreamed of becoming an astrophysicist in University, Dr. Mario Motta is now a renowned cardiologist and president of the Massachusetts Medical Society. Even though Astronomy wasn’t his major field of study, Dr. Motta still finds time to pursue it as a hobby. Yet Dr. Motta’s hobby has now turned into a passion. Presently, he gives lectures on how to curb light pollution and why Newburyport should. Here are some of the points Dr. Motta introduces in his lectures:

Public Safety

“Our pupils aren’t designed to accommodate direct bright light at night. [Without shielded lights] we’re blinding everyone.”

“If your neighbor’s spotlight is shining in your bedroom, it’s going to be a lot harder to sleep; lack of sleep can lead to weight gain, stress, depression and onset of diabetes.” – Dr. Motta

Shielded lighting is absolutely essential to proper lighting principles. It directs the light where it’s needed most: downward. A negative consequence of unshielded lighting is what Dr. Motta calls ‘disability glare.’ This ‘disability glare’ can temporarily “cast everything except the light source into virtual invisibility, causing drivers to see only white, basically blinding them.” Drivers over the age of 50 are at most risk.

Sleep disorders, another negative consequence of light pollution, can also lead to other serious illnesses such as depression, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Environmental concerns

“Artificial lighting has a huge detrimental impact on the natural rhythms of wildlife as well. Insects are lured to their deaths when artificial lights make them more visible to predators and easier to hunt. Owls and songbirds that migrate in the night collide with buildings, attracted to the man-made glare, and cannot follow the stars and moon the way they are internally programmed to do. Reptiles shy away from artificial lighting, which limits where they can look for food. Sea turtle mothers and their hatchlings become disoriented by the glow of lights from beach communities, setting off toward the lights of the houses rather than toward the moon over the ocean. Other animals including bats, raccoons, coyotes, deer and moose need the dark for mating and simply to sleep.

Plants, including many of the deciduous trees found in the Newburyport area, also need periods of dark for proper hormonal structures. In some cases, the streetlights confuse the trees enough to keep their leaves in the winter, which though it may look pretty, is actually very unhealthy for the plants themselves.”

Economic impact

“Billions of dollars are spent on unnecessary lighting each year in the United States. Approximately $2.2 billion is spent on lighting the night sky via unshielded outdoor lights. The lights also have a huge impact on carbon dioxide waste, as well, producing more than 14.7 million tons in the U.S. each year.”

In Dr. Motta’s community, unshielded streetlamps utilize 100-watt light bulbs. Shielded streetlamps paired with 60-watt light bulbs would actually light a larger portion of the road, due to the concentration of the light directed downward.

An easy fix

“Street lights are the biggest single source of light pollution, but anyone can reduce light pollution by keeping lights on his/her own property [dark-sky friendly].

“Light only when you need it, only where you need it, and only with the amount necessary.” – Kelly Beatty, a senior contributing editor for Sky & Telescope magazine and board of directors member for the International Dark-Sky Association.

“Unlike many of today’s lingering environmental concerns, the solutions to light pollution are simple, cost-effective and instant.”

Kelly Beatty really hit the nail with the hammer. Keep it simple. If security concerns your household, install shielded motion sensing lights utilizing energy efficient lamps. Light pollution is 100% irreversible and the effects are instantly noticeable.

Let there be night!

The future’s bright as South Coast Street Lighting PFI names successful bidder

Posted on August 21, 2009 by Noel

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“Better and more environmentally friendly lighting will help to make Southampton a safer and greener place. This is a huge investment in the city and let’s not forget all the jobs this should generate for our local economy.” – Councillor Matthew Dean, Executive Member for Environment

A 25 year government funded contract, part of the private finance initiative (PFI), to replace and maintain 250,000 total streetlights in Southampton, Hampshire and West Sussex has been awarded to Tay Valley Lighting. The £225 million government funded contract hopes to upgrade each of the aforementioned cities’ lights with the latest energy efficient equipment within 5 years and maintain them for the remaining 20 years.

“Research shows that better street lighting helps improve road safety, reducing road traffic accidents, as well as reducing crime and the fear of crime and creating safer communities.”

Aside from boosting these cities’ economies by creating new and continued jobs, the private finance initiative (PFI) hopes to accomplish the following:

“* ‘White’ light source used across the City, providing excellent colour rendering and improved visibility at night.
* Reduced light pollution and nuisance glare at night.
* Innovation, up to date energy efficient lighting and electronic control gear equipment, including LED lighting.
* An Intelligent Remote Monitoring Management System (RMMS), enabling central control for monitoring lamp fault detection, and adjustment of lighting levels.
* Variable lighting levels, appropriate to night time activities and the environment.”

‘Accidental’ Positive Environmental Occurrences in the Middle East Deserve a Bravo

Posted on July 4, 2009 by Marielle

The Middle East is certainly not a region known for its environmental consciousness or prowess. Beirut, a city which was once referred to as the Paris of the Middle East, does no justice for creating a sense of environment awareness in the region. However in certain instances, some of which are accidental, the people of the Middle East shine when compared to their fellow global citizens.

Beirut at Night
Found at: http://www.shweir.com

The electrical situation of Lebanon is nothing to laugh about. Anyone who has been to the country is intimately aware of the ‘electrical cuts’ which are characteristic of individuals’ daily lives. The country runs on government provided electricity, as well as motors and generators. Yet, the residents of the nation frequently have hours without power.

In villages which sprawl the nation the electrical difficulties can be more severe than the cities. Electricity frequently stops at midnight in many village areas.

In spite of the difficulties these hours of no electricity bring to Lebanese citizens; these hours are a much needed relief for the night sky. The night skies of the villages after midnight are a sight to see. Dark, expansive skies free of lights and packed with stars.
In between the complaints of locals, remarks of delight about the night sky can be frequently heard:

“Laykeh shu hilwen il najoom”- look how beautiful the stars are!

The government failures go further than an inability to provide citizens with electricity; they also include limited drinking water. Thus, the residents of Lebanon, whether inherently or out of necessity are far more careful then their Western neighbors when it comes to water usage.

The electrical situation of Lebanon and the government’s inadequacies is by no means being praised. However the struggles of the Lebanese people and the positive things which have come as a result of these difficulties should be mentioned. Perhaps in the future the desire to have a light-free sky will be intentional as opposed to a daily ‘inconvenience’.

In the meantime the small advancements and positive things which can be found in the Middle East towards the environment should be praised. In future times once a sense ‘protecting the environment’ has graced the region, these small advancements will become the foundation for greater and better steps!

China Considering Environmental Tax

Posted on June 6, 2009 by Noel


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As one of the world’s leading emitters of green house gas, China proposed yesterday a commitment to target and tax polluting businesses. Zhang Lijun, head of the Environmental Protection Ministry, revealed:

“Collecting environmental taxes from (polluting) companies is one of the directions of China’s tax system reform; several departments are currently working together to develop research on this issue, and when the conditions are right we will launch an environmental taxation system for polluting companies.”

Given its enormous population and growing economic presence, China’s energy demand has exploded. China remains as the top global producer and consumer of coal energy. Shockingly enough, the World Bank in 2006 identified 16 out of 20 Chinese cities as some of the world’s most polluted cities. Furthermore, recent studies have concluded 2 out of 5 cities exhibit ‘polluted’ to ‘hazardous’ air levels. 

Zhang Lijun also revealed the Chinese government’s environmental package 210 billion yuan (31 billion dollars) a part of China’s 4 trillion dollar stimulus package. Whilst the Chinese government has set aside a significant amount of money towards the environment, Zhang Lijun still expresses concern for the environment:

“Surface water pollution is still serious reducing the quality of coastal waters, while many cities’ suffer from light pollution and air pollution. Additionally, rural environmental problems are increasing.”

Countryside could be ‘more beautiful’ by 2026, says CPRE

Posted on May 13, 2009 by Noel


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An English countryside filled with more woodlands and wildflowers and less light pollution, where children get their knees dirty and people eat local food may sound like a trip down memory lane.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CRPE) wishes its countryside to become a ‘national asset’ rather than a lost tale. Whilst many sulk in dismay at the ever dwindling English countryside due in part because of climate change, globalization and development, the CRPE feels confident they’ll succeed. How? Community and Political leadership. Though small strides have been made regarding renewed public awareness interest in buying local food and sustainable living, these are small steps the CRPE wants to reshape England’s countryside priorities.  A part of their manifesto, CRPE wishes to shift England’s countryside priorities regarding economic growth, so that it is “no longer an end in itself and there is a new focus on quality of life and green living.” The CRPE also envisions a stronger local entity by decreasing governmental power to local authorities and land use decisions would be handled locally.

“The countryside is ours, and is the place where everyone can be inspired and challenged; in 2026, we hope that everybody will realize that ‘our national backyard’ is crucial to us all: not only is it a place to relax, work, live and play, but as the sources of our food with a major role to play in protecting wildlife and meeting the challenge of climate change.” – CPRE’s vice president, broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby

The English countryside exists as a backyard: go out and play.


Blinds Chalet Demonstrates How Blinds and Shades Aid Sleep

Posted on April 30, 2009 by Noel


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Exposure to light can disrupt sleep, making it difficult to fall asleep or even stay asleep. Lack of sleep has been linked to obesity, diabetes, immune system dysfunction, impaired judgment, disorientation and irritability.

Therefore investing in blinds and shades as means of controlling light may help provide the recipient achieve greater rest. Unfortunately as population increases within cities, power demand increases. Whilst shopping for blinds and shades may send the message of ‘ignorance is bliss’ to light pollution (buy shades to forget about how much light pollution exists rather than help eradicate it), for some it’s a necessity of life. And for good reason: who wouldn’t want to have a better night sleep? David P. White, McGinness professor of sleep medicine and director of the sleep disorders program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, knows that “The immune system doesn’t work well if we don’t sleep; most think sleep serves some neurological process to maintain homeostasis in the brain.” Dr. White further suggests that “some people most affected by light are those who work during the night or those suffering from jet lag; however, streetlights and light pollution, especially in major cities, can affect one’s ability to rest well.” Taking this information into account, Dr. White first instructs recipients to re-establish a nocturnal habitat by eliminating all indoor and outdoor lighting. Secondly, if technologically inclined, set your blinds to a time to release in day light. When your body identifies darkness with sleep and light with active, the human body can start to feel more on track with the natural cycle of a day.

‘Tis a sorry state of affairs if modernity or progress if you will requires us to shut out the light from night (oxymoron intentional) with blinds. If blinds were originally created to block out light during the day time, how does the body adjust to that ritual of closing the blinds in the daytime with closing them during both the day and night – day and night begin to blur. By doing so, you further escape from reality (although comfortable in your in house). The truth is you can’t shut out light pollution by forgetting about it.


Improved Californian Law: Title 24 in 2009

Posted on April 21, 2009 by Noel

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Effective August 1, 2009, California will release a revision to its building code known as Title 24. Beginning in 1978 as California’s non-residential/commercial building code, California’s has presently saved approximately $56 billion dollars in both electrical and natural gas costs. Without a doubt California’s stringent building codes have reduced its overall electrical/natural gas imprint and analysts purport the state will save an additional $23 billion by 2010. Whilst the details regarding the new revision have not been released to the public yet, every revision has shown improvement in both cost effectiveness and efficiency.

For those California readers unsure which lighting solution adheres to Title 24′s code, Starry Night Lights has several brands to choose from. For instance, we have offerings from Sea Gull, SPJ, RAB, and Quoizel lighting with plenty of styles to compliment both your outdoor and indoor lighting endeavours.

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