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Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 117, Number 1, January 2009 Open Access
Switch On the Night: Policies for Smarter Lighting Switch On the Night: Policies for Smarter Lighting

Luz Claudio


(photo above) The Aspen Recreation Center in Aspen, Colorado, won the 2004 IDA Lighting Design Award. The award recognizes lighting designs that are free of glare, use optimal levels of light, are energy-efficient, and provide pleasant ambience with minimal obtrusive light and contribution to sky glow. Lights that are fully shielded and well spaced keep light where it is directed, minimizing light pollution.

Artificial lighting is a given in modern society, but it need not cause light pollution. Well designed lighting is directed where it is needed and not scattered elsewhere. Poorly designed lighting, on the other hand, can actually decrease visibility and compromise safety. Moreover, misdirected artificial light contributes to light pollution and wastes energy. Cities around the world are implementing strategies that successfully curb light pollution and conserve energy through the use of well-designed lighting and simple acts such as turning off unnecessary lights when not in use.

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