Advancing the effective use of light for society and the environment.

Vol. 2, No. 1

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Michele McColgan Presents Work on Light Pollution at IDA Conference

LRC researcher Dr. Michele McColgan recently presented some of the LRC's work on light pollution at the International Dark-Sky Association's (IDA's) conference in Boston, held October 25 and 26 at Boston's Museum of Science and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Her presentation, entitled "Light Pollution Research and Education at the LRC," was well received by an audience of about 50. Conference attendees included astronomers, lighting designers, lighting activists, lighting product manufacturers, National Grid personnel, and representatives of Home Depot and other retailers.

"There was a lot of positive feedback on the presentation," says McColgan. "People were pleased to see that we are doing solid research into light pollution." Other speakers at the conference discussed a range of subjects including the environmental effects of light pollution, legislative issues, light and health, lighting for sporting events, and the pros and cons of different types of lighting installations. "This work is important," says McColgan. "The LRC is working on a growing number of projects that relate to light pollution and outdoor lighting."

McColgan observes that the IDA's membership and goals are changing. "Originally, the IDA was created by astronomers who were worried about their ability to continue to make astronomical observations in the face of increasing levels of light pollution, especially in the form of sky glow. Recently, though, they've been joined by other people who are concerned about light trespass and glare. The IDA is working with the Illuminating Engineering Society on criteria that give more importance to glare than previously. They've moved beyond being solely concerned with sky glow."

McColgan sees the need for more research to support efforts to reduce all forms of light pollution. "We need research in the areas of sky glow measurement, energy use comparisons, visibility, and lighting controls for outdoor luminaires, to name a few."

This conference isn't McColgan's first contact with the IDA. Earlier in the year she was part of the LRC team that produced a series of publications for Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P): Street Lighting and Light Pollution, The Efficient Street Lighting Design Guide, and Street Lighting Design Checklist. (For more on these publications, click here).

"The IDA likes these publications," she reports. "They want to ask CL&P if they can make them available on their own Web site, with appropriate credit given to CL&P and the LRC, of course." Another publication that will be of interest to IDA members is a new NLPIP Specifier Report, in preparation now, that will include information about light pollution and luminaire cut-off classifications. McColgan, along with the rest of the LRC, looks forward to working more closely with the IDA to achieve the organizations' common goals.

About the LRC

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) is part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is the leading university-based research center devoted to lighting. Founded in 1988, the Lighting Research Center has built an international reputation as a trusted and reliable source for objective information about lighting technologies, applications, and products. Its mission is to advance the effective use of light and create a positive legacy of change for society and the environment

2003 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180 USA.

Rennselear Polytechnic Institute