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DarkSky Association Report Calls for Vendors and Installers to Step Up Their Lighting Game

In a recent report looking at light pollution, DarkSky International has addressed the significant role landscape lighting plays in contributing to the more harmful effects of artificial lighting in the natural setting.

In the report, dubbed “Artificial Light At Night: State of The Science 2024,” DarkSky International laid out a call to action for both vendors and installers of outdoor lighting, noting that while applications like landscape lighting is incredibly popular nowadays, the functional efficacy of the these systems remains “extremely low.”

For years, scientists have been sounding alarms regarding light pollution, as, ever since the advent of LEDs, light pollution has only grown worse as time goes on. Often referred to as the Jevons paradox, there is a strong belief that as technological progress increases efficiency (like with LEDs), the falling cost of use spikes demand to the point that the original efficiency boost is cancelled out.

Basically, as lighting becomes cheaper with less electricity draw, people simply use more lighting, because there’s now more room in the budget for it.

This has led to a surge in light pollution in both urban and suburban environments as government officials and private homeowners alike lay out broader and brighter lighting systems for a variety of reasons, be it crime prevention, greater alertness at night, or just to highlight any number of worthwhile features in the environment.

2024 Lighting Controls and Fixtures Report

Lightapalooza took place in late February, and the growth of the event has mirrored the rapid ascension lighting fixtures and controls.

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DarkSky does note however that its current measures for measuring that growth in lighting is extremely lacking in one core area.

Blue light, one of the most critical parts of lighting that often leads to adverse health effects on both humans and animals, is unable to be picked up by traditional satellite cameras. Considering the association predominantly uses data gathered from satellite images, this leaves a considerable blind spot in the true impact of artificial lighting currently.

One particular issue that is growing prevalent as cloud cover grows more common as a result of climate change, is the phenomenon known as “skyglow” where the sky at night will literally glow in massive pockets overhead as the clouds disperse blue light from below.

What DarkSky International advocates in its report is that installers get smarter with their lighting designs.

According to the association, one of the easiest ways to remedy an overuse of lighting is to simply use less lighting and get smarter with lighting placement. The association also advocates getting skilled with using the full spectrum of what LEDs are capable of, tapping into warmer colors more associated with night.

For those interested in reading more the report breaks down the harmful effects of light pollution on the night skies, on ecological systems, and on human health, while also examining artificial lighting in the context of public safety and energy use.

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