Bright LED lights can mark the end of the dark sky

satellite view of Earth in hemisphere away from sun with visible city lights
A global view of Earth obtained from data obtained by the Suomi National Polar Orbital Partnership (NPP) satellite.


The specifications in the current proposal provide a starting point for planning, including a color temperature threshold of 3,000 K in line with Pittsburgh’s dark sky ordinance, passed last fall. However, Martinez says that’s the maximum, and when they look for consultants, they’ll take into account those who show dark sky expertise. The city is also considering – budget and infrastructure permitting – a “network lighting management system”, a type of “smart” lighting that will allow them to control lighting levels and know when it is available. power failure.

Martinez said there will be citywide engagement and status updates as milestones are reached. “We are in the evaluation phase right now,” she said, adding that the next major milestone is the authorization of a new contract. She admits to having some “passionate love for street lighting” and is also nervous to see the project come to fruition: “Just because things seem quiet doesn’t mean the work isn’t done. Fort”.

Although they’re not meeting with light pollution experts right now, Martinez said those they met in the final round of proposals — Stephen Quick and CMU’s Diane Turnshek — were “instrumental” in getting the color through. dark sky command.

In recent months, Zielinska-Dabkowska said her “baby” was the first Responsible Outdoor Lighting at Nighttime Conference, an international gathering of more than 300 lighting professionals and experts. Light Pollution Research is held almost in May. Barentine was one of the speakers. “It’s an indication that all of this is really happening, both as an object of study but also as something that attracts practitioners’ interest in outdoor lighting,” he said. about the conference.

However, there is still much work to be done. IDA recently published a report summarizing the current state of light pollution research. The Report 18 pages includes a list of knowledge gaps that need to be addressed in several areas, including the overall effectiveness of government policies on light pollution. Another issue is the level of light pollution that comes from sources other than city street lights, which a 2020 study found accounts for only 13% of Tucson’s light pollution. It’s unclear what makes up the rest, but Barentine suspects the next biggest source in the US and Europe is commercial lighting, such as flashy outdoor LED signs and parking lot lighting.

Clayton Trevillyan, Tucson’s building manager, says working with companies to reduce light emissions can be challenging. “If there is a light source inside the building, it is technically not regulated by the outdoor lighting code, even if it is emitting light outside,” says Trevillyan. In some cases, he said, to get around city restrictions, businesses have hung illuminated signs inside buildings but facing outside.

Light pollution experts generally say there is no substantial evidence that more light results in greater safety.

For cities trying to implement lighting ordinances, Trevillyan said, the biggest hurdle they face are “irrelevant” arguments, namely the claim that reducing the brightness of lights Outdoor lighting will reduce advertising revenue and make the city more prone to crime. The key to successful enforcement of dark sky rules, he said, is to educate the public and refuse to give in to those seeking exceptions or exploiting loopholes.

Light pollution experts generally say there is no substantial evidence that more light results in greater safety. In Tucson, for example, Barentine said, traffic accidents and crime are unlikely to increase after the city began reducing street lights at night and limiting outdoor light in 2017. Last year, researchers said. Research at the University of Pennsylvania analyzed. crime rate along with 300,000 street light failures over an eight-year period. They concluded that there was “little evidence” of any impact on crime rates on affected streets – in fact, perpetrators appeared to be looking for better-lit adjacent streets. Barentine says there is some evidence that “strategic placement of lighting” can help reduce traffic crashes. “Also, things get murky pretty quickly,” he said.

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