Press Release

Model Ordinance to Promote Responsible Outdoor Lighting

By SpaceRef Editor
June 18, 2011
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The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) announce public release of the Model Lighting Ordinance (MLO), a valuable guide for environmentally responsible outdoor lighting in North America. The MLO is an outdoor lighting template designed to help municipalities develop outdoor lighting standards that reduce glare, light trespass, and skyglow. Such standards reduce expenses, save energy, and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The MLO was developed jointly by the IDA and the IES over a period of seven years. The IDA/IES partnership will encourage broad adoption of comprehensive outdoor lighting ordinances. Any community, regardless of size, can use the MLO to develop proven, comprehensive, and environmentally sound outdoor lighting practices without devoting extensive staff time and resources to their development. A user’s guide explains the technical details of the regulation template using everyday terminology and examples.

Several unique features allow the MLO to be customized. The first innovation is the use of five lighting zones to classify land use and to implement appropriate lighting levels for each. Zones range from LZ0, designed for pristine natural environments and limited outdoor lighting, to LZ4, for limited application in areas of extensive development in the largest cities.

The second innovation limits the amount of light used for each property. An individual parcel is given a lumen allowance based on the lighting zone, the size of the property, and the degree of development on the property.

Third, the MLO uses the IES’s new TM-15-11 “BUG” (Backlight, Uplight and Glare) classification of outdoor lighting fixtures to ensure that only well-shielded fixtures are used. No uplight for area and street lighting is allowed in any zone.

Bob Parks, executive director of IDA, hopes for widespread application. “The MLO will give communities the tool they need to control outdoor lighting and the assurance that the outcome will meet the international standards developed by the IES,” states Parks. “The MLO will accelerate adoption of quality outdoor lighting practices in municipalities of all sizes and show planners how to improve the quality of outdoor lighting while saving energy and reducing operating cost.”

Robert Horner, director of public policy for the IES, expresses similar expectations, stating, “The IES is proud to have produced, in partnership with the IDA, the first Model Lighting Ordnance. This will give states and municipalities the ability to enact effective outdoor lighting legislation and codes, while maintaining the necessary lighting quality for a safe and secure lighted environment and meeting all relevant IES standards and practices.”

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The International Dark-Sky Association, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, was founded in 1988 to promote environmentally responsible outdoor lighting and the preservation of the night sky. IDA educates communities and individuals to use only the amount of outdoor lighting necessary, only when necessary and to direct it to the ground where it is needed.

Bob Parks
Executive Director
International Dark-Sky Association
+1 202-684-7090

Rita Harrold
Director of Technology
Illuminating Engineering Society
+1 212-248-5000 x115

SpaceRef staff editor.