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Dark Skies – Why is it important and what can you do about it

Post: Feb. 21, 2019
photo credit Laurie Blake, Selux

What is the one pollution that we can easily alleviate with no lasting detriment to our environment? Light pollution, and it affects more than just our ability to see the stars at night. On Wednesday, February 20th, Selux Corporation in Highland, NY hosted the first meeting of The Council of Industry’s Engineering/ Technical Network with a presentation on Understanding Dark Skies by James Brigagliano, LC, IES, LEED Green Assoc. and Product Manager for Selux.  The event included a delicious breakfast and a tour of the manufacturing facility after the presentation. This topic is especially relevant to Selux because they manufacture IDA-Approved Dark Sky friendly luminaires. 

Light pollution disrupts the world’s ecosystem. According to darksky.org, “Scientific evidence suggests that artificial light at night has negative and deadly effects on many creatures including amphibians, birds, mammals, insects and plants” This includes people, negatively affecting human health, increasing risks for obesity, depression, sleep disorders, diabetes, breast cancer and more. It is also estimated that 30% of all outdoor lighting in the US is wasted or unnecessary, this equals $3.3 billion dollars in wasted energy. New technology can help to conserve this energy and reduce the wasted light.

Redirecting outdoor lighting at night can increase safety. Glare from bright, unshielded lights actually decreases safety because it can shine into our eyes and constricts our pupils. This can not only be blinding, it also makes it more difficult for our eyes to adjust to low-light conditions. Smart lighting redirects light to where it is needed.

Selux has many outdoor fixtures that meet the IDA (International Dark-sky Association) Seal of Approval meaning they minimize glare, reduce light trespass and don’t pollute the night sky. Their recommendation is that to minimize the harmful effects of light pollution, lighting should:

  • Only be on when needed
  • Only light the area that needs it
  • Be no brighter than necessary
  • Minimize blue light emissions
  • Be fully shielded (pointing downward)

“James’ presentation was very informative, and it was great to learn more about light pollution and the possible solutions from someone who is so passionate about the subject. I think everyone there got a lot out of it!” said Serena Cascarano. Following the presentation, attendees were treated to a tour of the manufacturing facility. The presentation itself was held in Selux’s showroom with a variety of amazing lighting fixtures for both in and outdoors. We hope you will join us for the next Engineering/Technical Network presentation/tour and invite our members to submit ideas for future topics and locations.

If you have a presentation idea or would like to host the next Engineering/ Technical event please contact Alison Butler (abutler@councilofindustry.org).