Lighting Research Center Lighting Research Center
    Volume 7 Issue 2
March 2003 (revised February 2007)    
candela - The Systeme International d'Unities (SI) of luminous intensity. One candela is one lumen per steradian. Formerly, candle. lumen (lm) - A unit measurement of the rate at which a lamp produces light. A lamp's light output rating expresses the total amount of light emitted in all directions per unit time. Ratings of initial light output provided by manufacturers express the total light output after 100 hours of operation. zenith - In the lighting discipline, zenith is the angle pointing directly upward from the luminaire, or 180. Zenith is opposite nadir. In astronomical usage, zenith is the highest point in the sky, directly above the observation point. disability glare - A type of glare that causes a loss of visibility from stray light being scattered within the eye. discomfort glare - The sensation of annoyance or even pain induced by overly bright sources. illuminance - The amount of light (luminous flux) incident on a surface area. Illuminance is measured in footcandles (lumens/square foot) or lux (lumens/square meter). One footcandle equals 10.76 lux, although for convenience 10 lux commonly is used as the equivalent. glare - The sensation produced by luminances within the visual field that are sufficiently greater than the luminance to which the eyes are adapted, which causes annoyance, discomfort, or loss in visual performance and visibility. luminous flux - Luminous radiant power, measured in lumens. The overall light output of a lamp or luminaire. light trespass - A undesirable condition in which exterior light is cast where it is not wanted. luminous intensity - The luminous flux on a small surface centered on and normal to the direction divided by the solid angle (in steradians) that the surface subtends at the source. Luminous intensity can be expressed in candelas or in lumens per steradian. lux (lx) - A measure of illuminance in lumens per square meter. One lux equals 0.093 footcandle. nadir - In the lighting discipline, nadir is the angle pointing directly downward from the luminaire, or 0. Nadir is opposite the zenith. noncutoff luminaire - IESNA classification that describes a luminaire light distribution in which there is no candela limitation in the zone above maximum candela. (See also cutoff classification and cutoff angle.) semicutoff luminaire - IESNA classification that describes a luminaire light distribution in which the candela per 1000 lamp lumens does not numerically exceed 50 (5%) at or above an angle of 90 above nadir, and 200 (20%) at or above a vertical angle of 80 above nadir. This applies to all lateral angles around the luminaire. sky glow - Brightening of the sky caused by outdoor lighting and natural atmospheric and celestial factors. spill light - Light that falls outside of the area intended to be lighted. steradian (sr) - A unit of measure equal to the solid angle subtended at the center of a sphere by an area on the surface of the sphere equal to the square of the sphere radius. uplight - Light directed upward at greater than 90 above nadir. The source of uplight can be from a combination of direct uplight and reflected light. cutoff angle - The angle of light distribution from a luminaire, measured upward from nadir, between the vertical axis and the first line at which the bare source (lamp) is not visible. direct uplight - Light emitted upward by a luminaire. cutoff classification - The classification system of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) that describes the light distribution of anoutdoor luminiare. Cutoff classifications define the luminous intensity limits in two illumination zones that occur within the range of 80° to 180° above nadir. North America (IESNA) that describes the light distribution of an outdoor luminaire. Cutoff classifications define the luminous intensity limits in two illumination zones that occur within the range of 80 to 180 above nadir. footcandle (fc) - A measure of illuminance in lumens per square foot. One footcandle equals 10.76 lux, although for convenience 10 lux commonly is used as the equivalent. fully shielded luminaire - A luminaire that emits no direct uplight, but which has no limitation on the intensity in the region between 80 and 90. cutoff luminaire - IESNA classification that describes a luminaire having a light distribution in which the candela per 1000 lamp lumens does not numerically exceed 25 (2.5%) at or above an angle of 90 above nadir, and 100 (10%) at or above a vertical angle of 80 above nadir. This applies to all lateral angles around the luminaire. full cutoff luminaire - IESNA classification that describes a luminaire having a light distribution in which zero candela intensity occurs at or above an angle of 90 above nadir. Additionally, the candela per 1000 lamp lumens does not numerically exceed 100 (10%) at or above a vertical angle of 80 above nadir. This applies to all lateral angles around the luminaire. fixture - A complete lighting unit consisting of lamp or lamps and the parts designed to distribute the light, position and protect the lamp(s), and connect the lamp(s) to the power supply. (Also referred to as luminaire.)

Abstract

Outdoor lighting has become a necessary integral part of society. Light pollution is a by-product of outdoor lighting. Light pollution can be reduced by lighting only what is actually needed, when it is needed, and to the appropriate level. This publication discusses the three elements of light pollution, which are sky glow, light trespass, and glare, and gives examples and recommendations for minimizing or eliminating the undesirable effects of each element when designing and using outdoor lighting.

Introduction

We light our outdoor nighttime environment to meet certain societal goals, such as increasing safety and security, enhancing economic development, as well as highlighting historic areas or landmarks of cities or towns. Our society has become a 24-hour society, and nighttime lighting has become a necessity to facilitate using our roadways and downtown areas. Figure 1 is a composite image that depicts the light emitted from the earth at night. The brighter areas in the figure are regions of higher population density and, thus, more outdoor lighting.

Figure 1. The earth at night
Source: Image and data processing by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Geophysical Data Center. Data collected by the U.S. Air Force Weather Agency under the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, 1994-1995

Light pollution is a by-product of lighting at night, especially when we use inefficient luminaires and lamps and when we light to excessive levels. We can minimize our impact on light pollution by lighting more efficiently. When we choose efficient luminaires and lamps, fewer lamps may be required to meet the lighting objectives, resulting in less wasted light emitted into areas where the light is not needed.


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