Solutions to pollution

5 Solutions to Light Pollution

  1. Start with the light switch. The cheapest, most obvious and most effective way to reduce light pollution is to start turning things off. While there's a time and place for outdoor lighting — illuminating after dark activities, for instance — many of us burn porch and spot lighting because it gives us a sense of security. In fact, there's little data to support the idea that outdoor lighting reduces crime. Turn on lights when you need them, or use portable lighting. Go dark when you don't.
  2. Check with your power company to see if you're paying for outdoor lighting. It's possible you're being billed for that nasty sodium vapor lamp down at the street. Many utilities charge $10 to $20 a month for this service. A quick check of your bill or a call to customer service will tell the story. If this turns out to be the case, terminate the charge and ask that the light be removed. Most power companies are happy to oblige.
  3. Consider replacing outdoor lights with intelligently designed, low-glare fixtures. Did you know there is a certification body for sky-friendly outdoor lighting? The International Dark-Sky Association evaluates fixtures for low glare and efficiency. Look for the IDA seal of approval on locally sourced fixtures, or seek out a company such as Starry Night Lights, which specializes in low-pollution lighting.
  4. Place motion sensors on essential outdoor lamps. Lighting on demand trumps a manual switch or timer. Motion sensitive switches will light up porches and walkways when you need to move around after dark. They'll pay for themselves in fairly short order.
  5. Replace conventional high-energy bulbs with efficient outdoor CFLs and LED floodlights. While efficiency lighting won't directly keep all those stray lumens from bouncing around, it will take some of the sting out of your monthly bill and reduce power company carbon emissions. Just don't fall into the trap of thinking that CFLs and LEDs are an excuse to be sloppy about switching things off. While you're at it, see whether low-wattage, solar powered walkway lamps might replace area lighting. They're inexpensive and practically free to operate.