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Choosing Dark Sky Lighting

photo by Marc McCaughey

For almost all of human history, we as a species have experienced the wonders of a darkened night sky. 

It has been a massive influence of science and the arts. Without it, Shakespeare would not have written some of his most famous work, and Vincent Van Gogh couldn't paint "The Starry Night."

Since electricity has been prevalent in urban and now even rural areas in the past century, darkened skies have been relegated to very few uninhabited areas now in North America. 

I have seen this occur personally in my travels throughout visiting hundreds of public lands like our national parks throughout the years. I can count on just one hand the times I have seen the complex beauty of the Milky Way flowing through the cosmos unaided with my own eyes.

This is due to what is called light pollution. While they can come from municipal sources (street lights) or commercial factories, but it can also come from sources like your own outdoor lighting for your home or business.

If you'd like to view the effects of light pollution in your community, click here to view NASA's Blue Marble Navigator. This satellite imagery below captured from the website shows how much light is emitted at night for the eastern United States. 

Lighting at night is a very important factor for lots of folks wanting security and peace of mind to keep their home safe. 

But to reduce and even eliminate light pollution coming from your own residence or area, you can always opt for lighting solutions that won't give off stray light, giving the surroundings a dark sky.

The Home Depot is a proud partner with the International Dark Sky Association aka IDA.  They don't make dark sky approved lighting, but they are an excellent resource for information regarding why choosing dark sky friendly lighting solutions is so important.

To be sure you are purchasing dark sky outdoor lighting for your home brand new or as a replacement, always look for this seal by IDA (shown below) on the packaging. 

In fact, the Home Depot sells Dark Sky approved lighting at your local store as well as here online!

A dead giveaway for Dark Sky approved lighting is in its construction. Always look for opaque sides that emit light straight down, and does not give off stray ambient lighting. 

One example of this the Hampton Bay 180 Degree Motion Sensing Outdoor Lighting.

You'll get the lighting you need only when you need it (for entering the light zone or when motion is detected). This means you'll save money and energy while keeping the skies dark! 

Typically, the culprits for giving off massive amounts of unneeded outdoor light are H.I.D. (High-Intensity Discharge) fixtures. 

These are usually found on poles or on the sides of buildings in the form of Metal Halide, Sodium, or Mercury Vapor Lighting. 

Choosing dark sky friendly lighting not only allows your eyes to see the stars at night, but it can also help out nocturnal animals who need this natural darkness to survive. 

A great example of this is sea turtle populations in Florida by swimming/crawling towards artificial light sources instead of their natural horizon of the ocean. This unfortunately leads to a massive amount of deaths for these hatchlings each year, according to IDA.

So just like lots of ways you can conserve for our planet, an easy but overlooked approach to save money and energy is by choosing dark sky approved lighting. 

In fact, to view every dark sky approved lighting fixture The Home Depot sells, click here for more options. 

Designers Fountain Barrow 4 in. Satin Platinum LED Wall Lantern

If you ever get the chance of seeing a dark sky, even during a full moon, you know the sense of wonder and amazement you'll experience from it. 

So if you live in even an urban area, you can do your part by choosing only when you need outdoor lighting and choose fixtures that won't allow unnecessary lighting to pollute the sky.

The animals around you, neighbors included, may just thank you for it.

photo by David G. 

For additional lighting questions and comments, please let us know here!


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Posted 2016-05-02T22:01:12+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL Joseph_HD_ATL