RESIDENTIAL DARK-SKY LIGHTING

 

Thank you so much for your interest in using dark-sky lighting around your home! Not only are you helping to preserve our stars, you are also helping to protect people, wildlife, and our planet. 

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DARK-SKY LANDSCAPE LIGHTING/lightbulbs

Around the exterior of our homes, we want to avoid white, green and blue light and choose yellow/amber colors, such as a yellow LED bug light, as they have blue light taken out, but opt for low wattage/lumens (less bright), and avoid warm white LEDs, which still have a lot of harmful blue light. Our best choices currently are amber/yellow LEDs, yellow CFLs and incandescent (including Halogen). Here and here are examples of yellow, LED bug lights. For floodlights, here is a yellow LED bug light that is only 2 watts, and here is one that is 3 watts. These cast a warm, campfire glow. Note: If you have a problem with bugs still being attracted to your bug lights, the LED bug lights seem to be the least attractive to them. 

If you must use a white LED, be sure it has a Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) of 2700 Kelvin or less (2200K would be much better). However, if you live near the ocean, please consider sea turtle lighting so precious baby sea turtles don't get disoriented by artificial light and end up being killed. 

AmazonStarry Night Lights, and Home Depot offer amber and yellow bulbs. Night Scenes has a helpful article on landscape lighting. Flagstaff Dark Skies Coalition has a helpful article on residential lighting tips, and the International Dark-Sky Association has a Practical Guide for residential lighting. 

 

DARK-SKY LIGHTING FIXTURES AND SUPPLIERS

There are many beautiful and modern fixtures to choose from, and the lighting result produced by them is soft and elegant--allowing you to see what is needed rather than blinding you or disturbing your vision with a bright glare.  Sometimes a lamp will show up in the links below that is not dark sky friendly, so double check to make sure the light you're considering really is a dark-sky lamp, and if you can, look for the IDA's Fixture Seal of Approval, which can be found at Home Depot and also at Volt.

IDA SEARCH BY PRODUCTHOME DEPOT (look for IDA's Fixture Seal of Approval), AMAZONLAMPS PLUSStarry Night LightsBELLACORThe Lite CompanyVOLT (they have a line of IDA approved lawn/path lighting, which can be hard to find elsewhere). 

Sky & Telescope has a long list of manufacturers, retailers, and suppliers.

 

DARK-SKY LIGHTING SHIELDS

These are a great way to use what you already have! You simply add the shield to your existing light. Please know too that every streetlight manufacturer has shields available, as do most manufacturers who create flood lights, house lights, etc. for fixtures they manufacture. If a streetlight is shining into your home, ask your council for a house-side shield, and if it's an LED, ask if it can be dimmed. Some resources for purchasing shields are Sky KeepersStarry Night Lights, and ParshieldHowie Hearn makes custom light shields. There are even shields for globe fixtures, and Superior Lighting makes them as well.

 

ADDITIONAL RESIDENTIAL LIGHTING TIPS

IDA Texas has additional great tips and also talks about only using the amount of light necessary, by lowering the lumens and wattage, using motion sensors, etc. 

Sky & Telescope has a list of great articles on lighting tips.

 

HOW MUCH WILL THAT LIGHTBULB COST YOU?

Dark Sky Society has a calculator to help you determine that cost of running different types of light.

 

INDOOR LIGHTING--AVOID BLUE LIGHT AT NIGHT TO HELP MAINTAIN HEALTHY CIRCADIAN RHYTHM

Though the light inside our homes doesn't affect light pollution to the degree of outside lights (but please close your blinds and curtains), it's still a good idea to avoid blue light at night due to the ill health effects it can have as it disrupts your circadian rhythm, which can contribute to a multitude of health problems like cancer, obesity and even diabetes. Let your evenings be a time to slow down and feel at peace. As much as I love letting the sun fill my home during the day, I love just as much the cozy feel of dim lighting at night...and don't forget to spend some time outside! 

For indoor lighting, choose incandescent, halogen, and yellow or amber LEDs (but beware of some LED health risks) to help limit blue light, and have your lights on dimmers. If you'd like to eliminate blue light altogether, a great light to have on your nightstand would be Sleepy Baby® Biological LED Lamp, or check out lights from LowBlueLights™. You can also light candles or use amber colored battery operated candles that come on each night with a timer, such as Kohree votives, or Hayley Cherie Pillar Candles--I love these, and both have a long battery life compared to others. A variety of motion sensor or Dusk to Dawn amber night lights can be found on Amazon. The SomniLight Amber Book Light is good for reading. Want to dim bright lights that emit from appliances? You can use LightDims covers, or for travel, clock radios, etc., try Dim It Light Dimming Sheets.

For computers, I recommend a blue light blocker. SunsetScreen, for PC, is awesome, and it lets you pick the times the screen will adjust blue light as well as the brightness (thanks George!) f.lux® , for PCs and Mac, lowers blue light at sunset. Iris has many features, is recommended by Dr. Mercola, and works on multiple devices. It's a bit complicated to install, but it's a great product and worth looking into. PangoBright is a great way to quickly dim the brightness, and you can choose the color overlay (thanks George!).

For phones & tablets, try Night Shift for iOS, or Twilight for Android. I even reduce the blue light a little during the daytime, as I find it more pleasing to my eyes (and blue light can cause macular degeneration). Twilight, for Android, can be used during the daytime. To adjust iOS during the daytime, or further adjust the blue light at night, see this article, but adjust the hue to orange/yellow. If you have an iPhone or iPad that is too bright, even at its lowest brightness, here's a way around it, and I use this any evening I'm on my devices. Some people simply choose to wear blue blockers at night. See Blue Light At Night and TrueDark® to learn more. 

For light coming into your home (glare, light trespass, etc.), you can ask your city to put shields on the streetlights (remember, all manufacturers make them, so don't take no for an answer), and if they are LEDs, ask if they can be dimmed. If your neighbor has bright lights, consult this article from the IDA. If you still have issues, you can also pick up a pair of blackout curtains. They are inexpensive and come in a variety of colors. Keep your sleep environment as dark as you can, as even exposure to constant dim light while you sleep is harmful.

 

Gazebo Photo by Kaleb Dortono on Unsplash