As the Earth’s population continues to grow, more and more people are utilizing the resources that we have available. While air,
water and soil pollution are having a negative impact on the environment, many environmentally-conscious people are focusing their
energies on reversing the effects of the human race on our fragile planet.
One area that has been ignored in the past but is quickly becoming a topic of interest for many scientists is the effects of
lighting on the environment, especially our night sky. The International Dark-Sky Association, one of the leading organizations
dedicated to fighting the effects of lighting, defines light pollution as:
Any adverse effect of artificial light, including sky glow, glare, light trespass, light clutter, decreased visibility
and energy waste. Source: IDA FAQ
Types of Light Pollution
Light pollution’s major nuisances are that it obscures the night sky and makes the stars less visible for astronomical observations and also has a disruptive effect on ecosystems. There are five major types of light pollution that have a negative effect on the night sky and those looking for a better view of it and the nighttime world.
- Sky Glow – All of the light that has reflected off of what has been illuminated as well as misdirected lighting is known as Sky Glow. Sky Glow has become a major issue in heavily populated areas and can be a real nuisance for amateur astronomers who are trying to view the night sky from their back yard.
- Light Clutter – Light clutter is caused when excessive groupings of lights, especially street lights and lights intended for advertising, causes confusion and may become distractive. Unfortunately, when the intended purpose of these lights is intended to be distractive, it can cause accidents.
- Over-Illumination – As its name implies, over-illumination is when lighting is used excessively to illuminate an area. The incorrect use of light fixtures and “daylight lighting” are two contributing factors to over-illumination that can be counteracted with gas lights. By utilizing using and open flame, electronic ignition gas light you can cut down on the amount of energy used for your gas lighting and reduce the amount of light you emit.
- Glare – When excessive lighting is used it can cause a sharp contrast between the light and dark areas of your properties. This glare is often caused by a badly shielded bright light and can actually cast darker shadows when it is intended to illuminate for safety and thereby making an area even more unsafe. Open flame gas light and even gas lights with mantles emanate lower levels of light and can help to eliminate the glare effects of outdoor lighting.
- Light Trespass – One of the most annoying aspects of light pollution, light trespass occurs when lighting from a neighboring area intrudes onto a property and illuminates the area. This can cause several problems, including sleep deprivation when the trespassing light enters a persons bedroom.
Night Sky Ordinances
To help reduce the effects of light pollution several states have enacted laws on the types of outdoor lighting that can be used in their state. The International Dark-Sky Association offers a list of the current ordinances for cooperating states.
If you are interested in reducing the impact you have on the night sky, you may want to reconsider the type of outdoor lighting you are currently using for your home. For more information on light pollution, visit the International Dark-Sky-website and maybe consider purchasing gas lights for your home. Gas lighting, especially open flame varieties, can help reduce the amount of light pollution coming from your home while adding an element of style and value to your home.