Our Cocoweb team has some GREAT news: Our light fixtures have officially been certified as Dark-Sky compliant! This is a big step for our company that we are amply proud to announce.
Now, before we get into why Dark-Sky compliant light fixtures are important to have, let’s talk about exactly what this compliancy means and what it has to do with light pollution, which is a very real and unfortunate problem our Earth struggles with – and the issue with it only seems to be getting worse.
Dark-Sky Compliant: What it Means
Having light fixtures that are Dark-Sky compliant is a comme ndable milestone. It’s something every lighting company should want to receive. Equally, consumers should be eager to make the switch to Dark-Sky compliant lighting; however, many of them are still unaware of what it means.
So, to cut to the chase, Dark-Sky Friendly lighting refers to light fixtures that minimally cause light pollution when compared to traditional, non-Dark-Sky Friendly fixtures.
What makes Dark-Sky Friendly lighting safer for the environment is that it casts little to no illumination upward as illumination is shielded and/or is within a specific wattage range. We’ll talk more in a bit why this is important.
But just to be clear, most light fixtures out there are not Dark-Sky compliant. There is an approval process companies have to go through to earn this title for their fixtures. The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) is in charge of recognizing and certifying light fixtures as being Dark-Sky Friendly as it is their goal to reduce light pollution.
The IDA also has the goals to promote environmentally-friendly lighting and discourage the use of ambient lighting waste, advocate for protecting the night sky, and educating and empowering the public on light pollution and the solutions involved with it.
To truly understand what it means to be Dark-Sky compliant, you have to get acquainted with light pollution and the harm it poses for our planet. Light pollution, also known as photopollution, is the effect caused by man-made lighting illuminating the sky.
To the average person, artificial lighting wouldn’t seem to pose an issue. After all, we are all so grateful to have lighting, particularly at nighttime, that we wouldn’t think twice that man-made illumination could be harmful to the earth. Perhaps more people than not are even aware of the cons associated with the majority of the artificial technology we have created over the decades.
But unfortunately, the result of light pollution is not positive. According to the IDA, less than a hundred years ago, the beautiful starry sky and Milky Way could be viewed. Today, however, the effect of light pollution has taken much of this from us. Yet, since the 1950s, Flagstaff, Arizona can in fact view the Milky Way as they’ve been protecting their skies since.
But for a majority of the world, the problem still persists. Light pollution in the form of glare, clutter, light trespass, and skyglow poses problems for humans, wildlife, and even our climate. In fact, a study found that 80-percent of humans are living under skyglow. This number will unfortunately only increase as our planet becomes even more populated, and in turn, more urbanized.
The Issues Tied to Light Pollution
The main issue with skyglow and other environmental effects caused by artificial lighting has little to do with the fact that we can’t see and enjoy the stars like we used to (although, this is a key indicator that our environment is being damaged). The bigger problem is that the way light is being scattered by outdoor, artificial lighting is affecting the bio-rhythms of wildlife. And worst of all, these animals don’t even know what artificial lighting is; yet, they are affected by it.
According to Pollution Issues , “For instance, there are many examples of birds which migrate at night and use the stars to navigate, being confused by the bright lights of towns and colliding with buildings, losing any sense of direction, and dropping from exhaustion.” Pollution issues then goes on to state that skyglow has also affected the travel of sea turtles. As a result of artificial lighting, newborns get disoriented and fail to make it to sea after hatching. This is said to be the main reason why sea turtles in Florida are now endangered.
Interestingly, it’s not just animals that are deeply affected by artificial lighting and the pollution that comes with it. Humans also require the proper amount of darkness and natural lighting. Our body’s 24-hour clocks, and thus, our hormone regulation, mood, energy, and sleep can all be affected by light pollution alone. The way non-Dark-Sky compliant lights disperse light into the night sky can artificially trigger our circadian rhythm. Not only that, but the affect of lighting against the night sky can have an affect on our vision overtime.
Is light pollution something we really want? No. But the next best move is to opt for Dark-Sky compliant light fixtures. In order to protect our environment in the future, it is important that we make changes now.
Benefits of Having Dark-Sky Compliant Fixtures
In fact, artificial lighting is everywhere. There isn’t a time on our planet where artificial lighting isn’t being used. Buildings, homes, restaurant and store signs, street lights, traffic lights, and so on are consistently being used around the globe.
But if we can’t minimize or avoid using artificial lighting outdoors, what we can do is replace our fixtures with Dark-Sky compliant alternatives.
There are many benefits associated with opting for Dark-Sky compliant light fixtures:
- Reduced blue light in our environment, and in turn, less irregular circadian rhythms for both humans and animals (better sleep, mood regulation, etc.)
- The skies can become darker overtime.
- Dark-Sky compliancy is more attractive for bringing new clients or customers into your shop/restaurant, and thus, economical.
- Many Dark-Sky-approved fixtures utilize less energy, saving your electric bills.
- Dark-Sky Friendly lighting is safer for the eyes.
If you’re worried about replacing your current fixtures for Dark-Sky compliant fixtures, don’t be! These fixtures are similar in how they illuminate our outdoor spaces. The main difference is how light is dispersed into the environment. You may have been around many Dark-Sky compliant fixtures and not have even realized it!
While we can’t really just get rid of artificial lighting once and for all – especially since it has been beneficial for us for decades – we can still do something.
Although, some may argue that only the “strong will survive” or that only the species “that can adapt” to light pollution will continue their legacy. But the thing to remember is that light pollution is not inevitable but rather we have made it to where artificial lighting is an integral component of our way of life. Additionally, light pollution has a negative effect on all life forms. But since we cause it, it is our responsibility to do something about it.
Fortunately, if more consumers make the move to Dark-Sky compliant lighting, our issue with light pollution can be lessened. As a result, we can enjoy the stars, better vision, better-regulated circadian rhythms, and feel good that we are making our planet safer for wildlife.
At Cocoweb.com, we have thousands of Dark-Sky Friendly light fixtures, from barn lights to floor lamps. Make the move to Dark-Sky compliant light fixtures today – or contact us to learn more about what Dark-Sky compliancy means.