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Goodnight moon... bad night lights

There are many kinds of "pollution" these days. Plastic comes to mind. And carbon pollution, which is another name for the greenhouse gases which lead to climate change. But have you heard of "light pollution?" Light pollution not only wastes energy, it also has many negative impacts on people as well as on nocturnal wildlife.

Read below to learn about some solutions from Jim White, Senior Energy Efficiency Engineer with Chelan County PUD. - Jana


Moonlight casts an almost magical shadow when it shines through your window, but what about that annoying light coming from your neighbor’s night sky blaster? Or that streetlight beaming from across the way directly into your closed eyes that are trying unsuccessfully to drift off to sleep? LED lights are energy efficient, but carelessly installed LED lights can make these problems even worse.

Fortunately, there are solutions to these problems that can bring back the stars at night and make us safer, while also saving us money and energy. The solution is literally staring at us through our bedroom windows.

The best outdoor lighting:

  1. shines only where it is needed

  2. provides the right amount of light

  3. is the right color of light, and

  4. is inexpensive to own and operate

A bare light bulb screaming light in all directions throughout the night is the worst kind of light. Thieves are not afraid of it because it simply illuminates the things that they are looking to steal, and they know that people tend to avoid looking at a bright point source of light. Light directed into the night sky is a complete waste of energy, and walking toward that bright point source of light makes it more difficult to see the ground that you are walking on or recognize the person standing on your porch.

If you are going to buy an outdoor light, please make sure it illuminates the ground and not the sky or your neighbor’s window, is shielded so you don’t see the direct source of that light, and has a softer color temperature of 3000K or less. If you really want to get a fancy outdoor light, try to find one that automatically turns off during daylight hours, and is dimmed at night except when it senses movement.

For more information check out this webinar material from the Washington State University Energy Program.

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