top of page

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.

Legal Disclaimer: All information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional, engineering, financial, real estate, tax, or any other type of advice. The information and opinions contained in this article reflect only the personal opinions of the author of the article, and are not the professional opinions of TJK Consulting Engineers, Inc. (“TJK”). The use of any information in this article for any purpose will be at the reader’s sole risk and without liability to TJK or the author of the article. TJK does not represent or warrant that the information contained in this article is accurate as of any particular date and notes that rules, regulations, codes, and procedures are constantly changing and evolving. TJK undertakes no obligation to confirm the accuracy or completeness of this information as of any particular date and TJK makes no representation that this information will be current or up to date as of the date the reader is reading it. The reader (i) acknowledges and agrees that there is no substitute for consultation with a licensed, qualified professional that can take into consideration all relevant facts and circumstances for the reader’s specific needs, and (ii) understands that no professional-client relationship exists between TJK and the reader without signing all of TJK’s engagement materials and agreements. All regulatory and governing bodies having jurisdiction over a particular matter or project should be consulted to ensure that all applicable and up-to-date rules, regulations, codes, and procedures are being followed.

bottom of page