printer friendly page

Light Pollution - Do's and Don'ts

Night time outdoor light pollution is a significant and growing problem worldwide, in both rural and urbanized areas.  Artificial nighttime lighting affects biological rhythms of animals and humans and also reduces our ability to see the night sky. Check out this satellite image of light pollution in the Northeast to see why some airline pilots still refer to the Woodstock area as "the dark spot."

Woodstock does have regulations on nighttime lighting, including the requirement that "No sign illumination shall be permitted between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m." (Article VI, Section 2, Subsection [A][1][e], effective 1/1/92.)

Here are some simple things you can do to reduce light pollution:



bullet Install energy-efficient, fully-shielded lighting fixtures outdoors. They reduce glare by directing light downward where it is needed.
bullet Install lights only where necessary, and use motion-detection fixtures if possible.
bullet Position outdoor light fixtures so they uniformly illuminate the intended area.
bullet Use high-efficiency lamps when possible. They last longer and use less energy than regular lamps. Look for low-pressure or high-pressure sodium lamps with full-cutoff luminaires.
bullet For post-style lamps, use a fixture with an opaque top to help direct light downward.
bullet For billboards and signs that are illuminated at night, use top-mounted lights that are focused downward onto the board.
bullet DON'T create "light trespass" onto neighboring areas.
bullet DON'T turn on lights when they are not needed.
bullet DON'T illuminate signs after 10 p.m. or before 6 a.m.  This is a zoning regulation in the Town of Woodstock.

More Information and References:

Conservation Commission
The night has a thousand eyes, the day but one...."
- Francis William Bourdillon