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.

Night-time creatures ‘in crisis’

Posted on May 14, 2010 by Noel

Moths are an important food source for the UK’s bats.

Article source

“Butterfly Conservation and the Bat Conservation Trust are asking people to take part in a “National Moth Night” on 15 May to find out more about the creatures and their habitats. They say UK moth numbers have fallen by a third in the past 40 years. This poses a threat to the bats that feed on them. There are now 17 species of bat in the UK, all of which are protected by law because their numbers have decreased so dramatically.”

“We need to learn as much as we can about which moths are facing the biggest problems so we can direct our work into protecting them and their habitats. That’s why we are appealing to the public to get involved and look for moths on their patch. Without moths, the whole of biodiversity starts to unravel.” – Richard Fox, surveys manager at Butterfly Conservation

When a species comes close to extinction, its link in the chain begins to loosen. Whilst measures have been taken towards moderately to highly endangered animals around the globe by creating wildlife sanctuaries, they have technically been removed from their natural ecosystem i.e. extinct in the wild. Certainly species have naturally (e.g. Ice Age) and unnaturally (celestial bodies colliding), come and gone over the centuries, but what occurs when a species continues to ‘annihilate’ numerous other species at an alarming rate? Once a chink in the chain separates, other species connected to that chain experience its effects. Regarding the article, moths, a primary food source for bats, are dwindling in numbers. If moths are dwindling in population, it’s corollary that bats will dwindle in population. Furthermore, consider the bats’ natural predators: raptors, owls, opossums and snakes. Frightening, to say the least.

So how does lighting fit into this equation? It’s very simple. Most organisms posses and operate under a circadian rhythm, i.e. 24 hour clock. The effects of Artificial light sources at on organisms’ circadian rhythms have been scientifically proven as detrimental. There’s an article here that attempts to hypothesize the relationship between the loss of moth populations and increase in light pollution. The article suggests two theories: moths confuse bright light sources for the natural moon light and once the moths are in the bright light, they’re literally blinded by the light and can not see how to escape it. Considering that, let’s move on to bats. To avoid its natural predators, bats fly in darkness to their hunting grounds. Regrettably, bats’ flight paths have become more dangerous, due to the lack of darkness. So what’s a practical solution to this problem? Shielded lighting. Shielded lighting directs the light where it is needed: downward. It can utilize lower wattage light bulbs to bright the same area a traditional unshielded high pressure sodium lights would. One can also employ motion sensors to emphasize light ‘when one needs it.’ When lights are pointed downward, organisms (humans included) can continue to function on their circadian rhythm. Sure, there are other factors that also affect species such as waste, water quality, pollution, etc. But consider the following fact: light pollution is 100% irreversible.

Let there be night!

Sark’s skies could gain international recognition

Posted on April 30, 2010 by Noel

Image found here.

Article source

“I’ve found as you would expect that the skies here are very dark, there’s very little light pollution comes from Sark itself. The only real problem you have is from other islands like Guernsey, Jersey and in fact the east coast of France that a tiny little glow on your horizon from those places. But to all intents and purposes you’ve got skies darker than ninety nine percent of people in the UK will ever see.” – Steve Owens from the International Dark Skies Association

“From a tourism point of view it would be lovely for us to be the sort of place that you don’t have to be an astronomer or a star head you just have to enjoy the night sky, that’s one of them. There is really the sort of let’s do our bit for the environment because if you have effective lighting you probably use less of it and then you have to generate less electricity so that’s always a good thing. I think it just raises the profile of this nice place, let’s conserve it and I would say those three together really, that’s what it’s all about.” – Jo Birch from La Societe Sercquaise

Sark island lies in the southwestern portion of the English Channel. As a roughly 2 sq mile island with 600 inhabitants, much of Sark’s revenue relies on tourism. If the International Dark Skies association approves Sark as a Dark Sky island, big things could happen for this small island. Retrofitting new lighting fixtures, if they are even needed, would be absolutely simple and painless. What’s more, automobiles have and will always be prohibited island wide. Whether Sark island is approved or not, Sark is a wonderful little jaunt especially for ecotourists.

Best of luck to Sark island on obtaining island wide Dark Sky approval and remember:

Let there be night!

Calls to reduce light pollution ‘backed by CPRE survey’

Posted on April 16, 2010 by Noel

“Most people feel their view of the night sky is spoiled by artificial light, a survey suggests.”


Light pollution is an unnecessary waste and detracts from the natural beauty of the night sky, it’s understandable that it makes people angry… The costs of not acting are clear: Unnecessarily high energy bills for councils, and therefore for local taxpayers, more carbon emissions, disrupted sleeping patterns for people, disturbance to wildlife, and a night sky bereft of the majesty of the Milky Way.” – Emma Marrington, rural policy campaigner at CPRE

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has had enough of light pollution. Street lights, neon signs, home and business lights – beware. The CPRE wishes to substantially curb light pollution across the UK. Why? Light pollution “wastes money, is damaging to the environment and seriously detracts from the beauty of the sky at night.” Whilst there have been efforts in the UK, the CPRE is calling on councils, businesses and householders to create better communities that will ensure less intrusive and night sky friendly lighting. Unfortunately, according to the CPRE, “light pollution in England increased by a quarter and the amount of light-saturated night sky rose to 7%. from 1993 to 2000.” Do not dismay, for better lighting starts with shielded lighting fixtures. Utilizing shielding lights in conjunction with low wattage energy efficient bulbs and motion sensors creates concentrated light where you need it most: downward.

Starry Night Lights will always continue to fight the good fight against light pollution.

Let there be night!

Initiative to minimise light pollution at beauty spot

Posted on March 31, 2010 by Noel

Article Source

Image found here.

“Half of our environment is above the horizon and that half, the night sky, has no protection in law, and the time has come to turn back the tide of wasted light that has deprived the modern generation of its beauty. Light pollution represents visible destruction of the environment in several ways: wasted upward light blots out our view of the stars, fuel and money are squandered to light the night sky and glare and intrusive lighting are simply the results of poorly aimed fixtures. Light pollution does far more than inconvenience a few astronomers. It is a most harmful assault upon our environment. It affects us all and all of us ought to be concerned about it. Carefully directed light, using the minimum brightness for the lighting task, is the ideal.” – Bob Mizon, UK co-ordinator of the British Astronomical Association’s Campaign for Dark Skies and author of Light Pollution: Responses and Remedies.

The Gower peninsula, known as Wales’ rustic and scenic countryside, intends to rid itself of light pollution. The Swansea Council will vote on a new ‘dark sky’ policy, prohibiting high intensity lighting and unshielded fixtures on all lighting fixtures. Why? To preserve and promote its status as a mecca “for stargazers at night as it is for beach and countryside lovers during the day.” Even though the Gower peninsula is home to pristine night skies, this ‘dark sky’ policy will help preserve the heavens above. The Council should come to decision tomorrow and according to Malcolm Ridge, chairman of the Gower Society, it should pass with resounding success.

Small victories around the globe move us closer towards ubiquitous darker skies for all. Shielded lighting used in conjunction with motion detection and high efficient light bulbs creates light where we need it: downward.

Let there be night!

Nation’s largest solar-powered power plant up for P&Z approval

Posted on March 17, 2010 by Noel

photo: First Solar


A group of six developers — ABCDW LLC, Torrey Pines Development LLC, Riggs/Queen Creek 480 LLC, Ellsworth Road 160 LLC and Vanderbilt Farms LLC — represented by Rose Law Group PC is bringing the proposed plant to the commission for a series of approvals, including changes in zoning allowances and the county’s general approval of the development.

By today’s standards, the 40-megawatt facility would be the largest in North America and eighth-largest worldwide in terms of total megawatt capacity, although several larger projects, including a giant 5,000-megawatt farm in central California, have been proposed both stateside and around the globe. A 2,000-megawatt facility is slated for completion in the Mongolian desert in China by 2019, with Tempe-based First Solar holding that production contract.

Florence, Arizona.

According to the 2006 US Census Bureau’s estimates, the sunniest cities with over 440,000 people in the United States are as follows:
1. Phoenix, AZ – 85% (% sunshine) – 211 (clear days)
2. Las Vegas, NV – 85% – 210
3. Tucson, AZ – 85% – 193
4. El Paso, TX – 84% -193

As of last year, Arcadia, Florida built the largest solar power plant in the nation at 25-megawatt. The 40-megawatt solar power plant in Florence, Arizona would be able to power an estimated 30,000 – 40,000 homes. Now that a context has been established, it makes logical sense to build solar power plants in regions where it’s the sunniest. Sure the initial cost may deter investors away, but consider the passive yet active application of solar. Passive, in that the panels soak up solar energy without moving. One does not have to harvest energy via digging, drilling, etc. Active in that solar energy powers homes with electricity. These are indeed exciting times we live in.

Let there be night!

Project DIY: Replacing Old Lights

Posted on March 15, 2010 by Noel

“Not only will you attract more potential buyers and get a quicker sale (not to mention being the envy of your neighbours) you’ll probably get a welcome boost in your sale price. Spending 5% of the value of your home on landscaping, and you might get back as much as 150% of your money back. If your landscaping is on the low end for the area, bringing it up to par with your neighbours could increase the value of your property by as much as 15%. And academic studies are proving the point. One university study found that consumers valued a landscaped home up to 11.3 percent higher than its base price. Another consumer survey in Ireland found that hedges raised property value by 3.6 percent, a landscaped kerb by 4% and a landscaped patio by a staggering 12.4%” – Article Source

Buying a home is an investment. As such, with any investment, one wishes to achieve the maximum return value on that investment. Our last DIY topic lauded the value of energy efficient, shielded outdoor lamps and the ‘ambiance’ it creates. This particular DIY article will focus more on larger outdoor lights found on homes. Have any outdoor lights barely hanging on? Been meaning to update them to reflect your style? Looking for something less obstructive but more welcoming? Take a look at the image at the beginning of the article. It possesses an old fashion yet contemporary look, it’s stylish and guess what, it’s 100% night sky friendly. Significant strides have been made in lighting technology, to provide numerous styles for demanding consumers. Rustic, classic, contemporary or a fusion of them all, Starry Night Lights delivers.

Project DIY: Landscape lighting and outdoor spaces

Posted on March 12, 2010 by Noel

The walkway lights are fine since they’re shielded, but the glare emanating off the lights, accentuating the trees, is simply unacceptable.
Read on to find out why.
Image source – Trussum Pond Lawn Irrigation

For those of us in the North Hemisphere, Winter’s grasp loosens as Spring’s renewal blossoms. With the snow and cold weather beginning to subside, plans are certainly afoot – especially in households. All kinds of foliage will start to grow, wanted or unwanted, across yards and one will certainly want to deal with this accordingly as they see fit. If you value the ambiance lighting can add to any yard, read on.

Scenario: You’ve decided to have a BBQ party to celebrate the new weather in a few weeks. The snow has finally melted and foliage is beginning to grow once again. You diligently eradicate weeds that would otherwise ruin your motif. You check to make sure your irrigation and lighting switches are working properly. It turns out, you need to replace your lights. But here’s the thing: Do you pick up replacement light bulbs? Should you use more energy efficient light bulbs? How’s the lighting ambiance been in the past? Should I add more or remove some (pre)existing lights? All of these questions are great questions to ask.

Ideally, there would be no light. But of course, that doesn’t reflect reality. Here are some rudimentary outdoor lighting tips: For starters, shielded lighting directs the light where it is needed: downward. As a corollary, less wattage/more energy efficient light bulbs are required to light the small area. Landscape lighting, in principle, is to illuminate outdoor features at night. Certainly, one can utilize a floodlight to illuminate their entire backyard. Yet the majority of people don’t. Why is that? Ambiance. Regarding lights in outdoor spaces, the adage ‘too much of a good thing is a bad thing’ comes to mind. In addition, too much light is highly intrusive to others. If you remember these easy, helpful tips, you shouldn’t have a problem when faced with the task of ‘what is proper lighting’ and finding that balance between darkness and light.

If you’re considering procuring new lighting fixtures to retrofit your outdoor space, congratulations and welcome to the site! Starry Night Lights is a small family business dedicated to eradicating light pollution through education, superior products and customer satisfaction. Starry Night Lights offers a dedicated section to landscape lighting, with Deck lights starting at $25.90, pathway lights starting at $14.97, and recessed lights starting at $68.50.

Let there be night!

1:30-2:30 a.m.: Pearson dims down once air traffic slows for the day

Posted on March 8, 2010 by Noel

In the quiet of the night, Pearson International reduces lighting levels significantly.


“For example, in the service level of Terminal 1, a pretty large area (for staff), we have achieved a 75 per cent lighting reduction between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m and between Midnight and 5 a.m. in the Terminal 1 baggage claim area we have about a 40 per cent lighting reduction. If you’re in Terminal 1 after 12:30 or so you will see a lot of lighting turned off.”
“We’ve been involved with Earth Hour since the beginning, in 2008; a direct result of that involvement was the decision to turn off 50 per cent of the fluorescent lighting inside Terminal 1, permanently. We essentially turned off two of the four lamps in every light — no one has even noticed. Thanks to Earth Hour, when you drive up to Terminal 1 on the departure level, the architectural lights to light up the front of the terminal, we shut them all off, permanently.” – Craig Rock, the Greater Toronto Airport Authority’s manager of energy management

“Fact: With no artificial light pollution the human eye can see about 3,500 stars in the night sky. But with the light pollution in Toronto, the number of visible stars dwindles to a few dozen.”

International airports operate 24/7 to cater to inbound and outbound flights. Obviously, airports cater to more travelers during the day time. As such, it dawned on Craig Rock, that perhaps he and his team could reduce the airport’s energy footprint. Aside from the lighting reduction strategies mentioned above, Mr. Rock has implemented escalator motion sensors as well as heating and cooling standby modes. Mr. Rock’s commitment to implementing energy efficient methods should be lauded. Why use electricity when no one is around to actually use it? Furthermore, even if the building you manage doesn’t possess all of the most energy efficient lighting solutions, there’s still no excuse for excess energy. There are alternative methods to ensure maximum efficiency, even if your equipment isn’t efficient. As Mr. Rock put it, “We’ve been learning how to use the building correctly.”

Surrey’s record-breaking streetlights make-over starts

Posted on March 3, 2010 by Noel


“This will be the largest scale introduction of this type of street lighting technology ever seen in Britain and meets with our aim to make Surrey one of the best places in the world to live.” – Dr Andrew Pove, Surrey County Council leader

“The new energy efficient technology is expected to save more than 60,000 tons of carbon emissions over the next 25 years. It is also set to save Surrey taxpayers at least £12 million over the same period due to lower energy bills and a better contract deal. There will also be a reduction in light pollution because the new lights direct their beam downwards. The individual lights can be remotely controlled from a control centre in Merrow, Guildford. At present, Surrey’s street lights are programmed to come on and go off at set times in the day, with little opportunity to make energy savings. But under the new system, lighting will be increased most where it is needed and reduced where it is not.

Congratulations Surry!

Thanks to a “Private Finance Initiative grant worth £73.9 million from central government”, construction has begun to replace Surry’s 89,000 old streetlights with new environmentally sound lighting solutions. The old Orange light high pressurized sodium lights are being replaced by shielded, remotely controlled lights a part of an electronic grid that notifies technicians if a light needs replacement. The entire construction process will take five years to upgrade the preexisting lights, 70,000 of which will be replaced, whereas 19,000 will be refurbished. Public investment into programmes such as this one, allow future generations to see untainted skies as well as increased energy savings. Whilst the initial upfront cost may deter weary adopters, it’s a long-term investment for the future with substantial monetary savings. An added boon of this lighting overhaul programme lies in the increased standard of living. How? The city becomes marketable as a ‘dark-sky’ city, where tourists and residents reap the benefits of pristine night skies. Whilst it may not seem most people care about the night sky, I guarantee that if you show someone a pristine night sky, they’ll remember it. Perhaps they’ll even yearn for it again. Nonetheless, Starry Night Lights wishes to once again congratulate Surry on securing funding to retrofit all their ever increasing anachronistic lighting solutions.

Philips designs self-powering city light concept

Posted on February 26, 2010 by Noel

Image Credit

“Penny pinching and energy saving are both extremely fashionable at the moment, and when the two areas collide you can be sure there’ll be some political reaction, which is why street lighting has come under government review recently.”

Article source

“These unusual looking bits of street furniture will apparently adapt to the environment as they mimic the behaviour of a flower by opening and closing to gather energy. By collecting energy from the sun and wind, the Sustainable City Lights are self powering, but also possess the ability to give back to the grid if it overproduces to help feed other items draining power. They’re also far more energy efficient than regular lights as they use LEDs.

More importantly, however, they have the intelligence to turn down the wick when they are not needed, thanks to proximity sensors that will only activate when a person comes suitably close to require the lighting. This not only makes them more energy efficient, but also reduces light pollution — something the BAA will no doubt strongly approve of.”

Philips has the right idea: energy efficient, self-powering lighting solutions with proximity sensors. Whilst I find the overall concept neat, I fear these lights may give off the same amount of glare found in ‘unshielded’ lighting solutions. Shielding is a very important aspect of any lighting solution. Shielding directs and concentrates the light downward instead of upward. One could have the most energy efficient and high lumen bulb on the planet, but it’s worthless without proper shielding. In essence, shielding is the most important component in reducing light pollution. Perhaps I’m jumping the gun on this concept sketch, but the far right photo worries me. Hopefully, this concept will come to light with 100% shielding and our towns, cities and metropolises will reap the benefits.


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