Can I Have Landscape Lighting And Still Meet Dark Sky Restrictions?


Dark sky restrictions in Guilford County are an essential means through which lighting pollution is being controlled. International Dark Sky Association (IDA) acknowledges the fact that the modern society needs landscape lighting for various reasons which includes safety and commerce. However, it advocates the wise application of any required lighting to minimize the harmful effects of light pollution. IDA demands that lighting should:

  • Be fully shielded, which implies that lights pointing downwards are preferable.
  • Not be brighter than necessary.
  • Only be on when required.
  • Reduce blue light emissions.
  • Only illuminate the area that needs it.

These restrictions may make you wonder if you are allowed to have landscape lighting and still meet dark sky restrictions in Guilford County. Of course, the answer is yes, landscape lighting can be done in a dark sky friendly manner. Below is what we recommend for all home owners and property managers who want to be in line with the dark sky restrictions:

Type of Light

Everyone knows there are various types of light and depending on the application and budget, the choice may be different. Some of the common commercial light sources include, metal halide, low-pressure sodium (‘LPS’), high- pressure sodium (‘HPS’) and light emitting diodes (‘LEDs’). Until recently in the last several years, LED has not been available, but as LED’s continue to advance in their capabilities, they are rising to the top of the list quickly in versatility and may be the perfect options for you. Choosing LED lighting will bring you several benefits including:

  • Energy Savings
  • Lack of infrared light, which is one of the major causes of sky glow and attraction of bugs.
  • Ability to be dimmed.
  • Savings on regular maintenance expenses

LED lighting should be properly aimed and fully shielded to minimize glare. Due to their energy efficiency and durability, LEDs are rapidly being accepted as the main source of lighting, thereby replacing other light sources in many cities.

Color & Wattage of the Light  Source

Residential landscape lighting utilizes such low wattage lamps (usually 3 to 10 watts) to accent the landscape and structures that it greatly minimizes light pollution while still providing the desired effect. The color of light should be a warm white of not more than 3000 Kelvin for a natural setting. The exception to that rule would be moonlighting where the color can be found between 3500-5000 Kelvin, due to trying to mimic the moon’s color. Blue light emissions should be minimized as it has been revealed to constitute harm to human health as well as the endangerment of wildlife. Due to the fact that most LED’s contain large amounts of blue lights in their spectrum, a low-color temperature LED or a narrow-spectrum LED should be considered for a dark sky friendly lighting. Dark sky restrictions in Guilford County don’t have to keep you from creating a great landscape at night, just remember to select the correct fixture for the correct application.

Located in Summerfield, NC Southern Lights- Architectural and Landscape Lighting serves properties and property management companies throughout the state of NC including Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Clemmons, Raleigh, Charlotte, Kannapolis, Salisbury, Gastonia, Matthews, High Point, Jamestown, Burlington, Reidsville, Oak Ridge, Brown Summit, etc.

Southern Lights has installed hundreds of outdoor landscape lighting systems and carries more certifications than anyone in the state. We specialize in lighting designs and service everything we install as well as lighting systems installed by others. With attention to detail and a solid knowledge of lighting designs, Southern Lights is the leading outdoor landscape lighting firm in the state of NC. See why our clients choose us. Contact us today by web (online form) or phone 336-451-4969.

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