Do you know if your home lighting is community and night sky friendly? Follow the steps below to find out. Most people will find that a few simple changes can lead to lighting that is both beautiful and functional, without contributing to excessive light pollution.
Four Steps to YOUR Dark Sky Friendly Home Certification
After you’ve completed the steps below, and taken any action needed to improve your outdoor lighting, download and display a free Dark Sky Friendly Home certificate!
- Evaluate each outdoor light on your property using the Five Principles for Responsible Outdoor Lighting below, and complete the home lighting inventory form (PDF).
- Improve any of your fixtures that don’t check all five boxes on the home lighting inventory form.
- Confirm that your luminaires are now dark sky friendly by recording the date that you took any necessary action.
- Submit your results via our self-certification form. Then download your Dark Sky Friendly Home certificate.
photo credit: Steven Miller
Five Principles For Responsible Outdoor Lighting – At Home!
Follow these five lighting principles to make your home dark sky friendly.
1 – Does the Light Serve a Clear and Necessary Purpose?
Light is useful for safe wayfinding and to help perform specific tasks. In the example below, the light illuminates only the entryway and stairs, where it is needed.
If you find that lights on your property are not necessary or useful, remove or disable them so that they are not accidentally turned on.
2 – Does the Light Fall Only Where it is Needed?
Direct the light down, not up into the sky, and target your fixtures so that light does not spill beyond where it is needed. From eye level, the light source should be even with or recessed within, the light fixture, ensuring there is no visual discomfort known as glare.
If the light spills beyond where it is needed, replace it with a shielded fixture or re-orient the light so that it does not extend beyond where it is needed. Be especially mindful of light that spills up into the sky, or onto other people’s property.
3 – Is the amount of light appropriate for the intended task?
Use the lowest lighting level needed to perform the intended task.
Excessive light can contribute to glare, actually making it harder to see things well. If you find that the lighting level around your home is too bright for the task it is intended for, change the fixture’s bulb to one with a lower light level or consider incorporating dimmers.
4 – Is the light connected to active controls?
Switch off any exterior lights when possible. Light should only be used when needed to reduce the impact on the environment and save electricity.
Outdoor lights that are necessary should be connected to a timer or motion sensor. Motion sensors should be set to times of 5 minutes or less. Dusk-to-dawn sensors are strongly discouraged as they release light when it is not needed.
*Make sure sensor trigger sensitivity is set appropriately so that they light the area only when people are present.
5 – Is the light source warm in color?
Lightbulbs manufactured today have a Kelvin rating printed on the bulb or box. Low Kelvin ratings (3000 Kelvin or less) are considered warm and generally emit less harmful blue light than higher Kelvin. For home lighting, there are good options at 2700 Kelvin or less. Consider going as warm as possible, especially if you are in an ecologically sensitive area.