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Light Pollution

Shedding Light: How Thoughtful Design Prevents Light Pollution

Light pollution can occur when light from a ballfield, parking lot, or other development illuminates surrounding spaces where it is not intended to. Proper selection of light fixtures and placement can help to reduce light pollution significantly. As the engineer, it is important to design to the standards and codes that are required by ordinance or municipality regulations as well as utilize the latest LED technology to control light output and reduce light pollution.

Light trespass is the effect of light pollution that occurs when light spills into areas where it is not wanted. Glare is another effect of light pollution and can be thought of as objectionable brightness, which can be disabling or discomforting to humans and wildlife. Light from a ballfield that is spilling into a nearby neighborhood and disrupting the sleep of the residents is a prime example of light pollution.

When designing with many tall light poles on a field, it can be easy for light trespass and glare to occur. Since it's difficult to define when, where, and how much light is unwanted in a space, light pollution is somewhat subjective. Selecting proper light fixtures that project light downward onto the field can prevent light pollution and keep light away from neighborhoods who don’t want glare in and around their homes.

Since every light fixture performs differently, fixture selection plays a significant role, as well as designing to the standards and codes required by ordinance or municipality regulations. Determining the right height of the poles, designing the correct footcandles, and abiding by IES recommendations can assist with preventing light pollution. The goal is to ensure that lighting is designed for its proper use while being conscious of neighbors and reducing light pollution to meet or exceed codes and regulations.

Thoughtful design has a significant effect on the impact of a new development in its surrounding community. By being mindful of smart lighting practices and selecting proper fixtures, we can reduce the negative impacts of light pollution. By recognizing the importance of thoughtful design, we can make a profound difference in mitigating light pollution and ensuring a high quality of life in surrounding communities.

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