Navigation Links
Lighting research center develops framework for assessing light pollution

Troy, N.Y. The emergence of electric lighting at night nearly a century ago has positively affected countless aspects of human life, ranging from improved safety and security to stronger economic development. But too much nighttime illumination can cause problems for stargazing, animal health, and may even compromise sleep, often leading some people to say "lights out."

Balancing public and private interests for nighttime lighting has been a difficult undertaking, as too little lighting may increase safety and security issues, while too much lighting may cause problems for the environment and for human well being. Scientists in the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed the first ever comprehensive method for predicting and measuring various aspects of light pollution.

The method, called Outdoor Site-Lighting Performance (OSP), allows users to quantify and thus optimize the performance of existing and planned lighting designs and applications to minimize excessive or obtrusive light leaving the boundaries of a property.

"Until now the conversation about light pollution has been just that a lot of talk with no data," said Mark Rea, LRC director and principal investigator on the project. "The Lighting Research Center's Outdoor Site-Lighting Performance measurement method is a powerful tool, allowing users to address three important aspects of light pollution sky glow, light trespass, and discomfort glare quantitatively and at the same time."

Sky glow is defined as total amount of light leaving a property. Light trespass describes the amount of light crossing from one property boundary onto another, and discomfort glare predicts the level at which light coming from a luminaire is uncomfortable for viewers.

Although the three factors are independent of each other, each is measured using OSP, allowing users to control and maximize the positive benefits of nighttime lighting, while simultaneously minimizing their negative consequences for the public, according to Rea.

Developed as a practical system for assessing outdoor lighting performance, the OSP method can be used with any commercial lighting software. Using this software, the designer establishes a calculation "box" following the natural division between a public and private space, the property line.

For purposes of standardization, scientists in the LRC set the top of every calculation box at 10 meters (33 feet) above the highest luminous architectural element on the property, or the highest point on a building that might be illuminated with flood lighting.

With this basic framework in place, OSP can be used to analyze sky glow, by measuring the overall average illuminance on the side and top planes of the box; light trespass, by calculating the maximum illuminance on any of the side planes; and glare, by computing three illuminance values obtained at the property line, according to Rea.

In order to provide insights into the values of glow, trespass, and glare produced by nighttime lighting, Rea and LRC scientists Jennifer Brons and John Bullough worked with application engineers to study 125 lighting designs for four common nighttime lighting applications car parking lots, roadways, sports fields, and plazas.

"Project participants used OSP with their preferred lighting calculation software programs, documenting the area of each side of the box, average illuminance on each side of the box, and the maximum illuminance on the vertical sides of the box," said Brons. "The measurements were then used to calculate the three aspects of light pollution. These empirical results are the first ever published that we know of showing how much light leaves a sample of outdoor lighting installations, measured in terms of glow and trespass. Once application engineers had these data they began to find creative solutions to reduce light pollution while maintaining the design objectives. This is important because it shows that lighting decision-makers can use OSP to do a better job."

A database of results has been created to help engineers compare the performance of their own projects to the glow, trespass, and glare levels measured at nighttime lighting applications located across North America and Europe.

Bullough says a more extensive, continually growing database updated by the lighting community would be invaluable for making systematic progress in reducing light pollution.

Based on the 125 sites examined, LRC scientists have developed provisional limits for glow, trespass, and glare, offered as starting points for subsequent discussion among all stakeholders in nighttime lighting, according to Rea.

OSP can be used by lighting engineers immediately, particularly for the investigation of glow and trespass (glare analyses are more complex to perform and current commercial software does not readily allow them), and can help users compare several lighting design alternatives for the same site.

"This project began in 2005 with leading manufacturers approaching us for an objective and unbiased assessment of light pollution, and as a result, we are pleased to share this new, comprehensive tool that brings much-needed balance to the discussion," said Rea.


Contact: Amber Cleveland
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Related biology news :

1. Research shows skeleton to be endocrine organ
2. Newly created cancer stem cells could aid breast cancer research
3. Dominant cholesterol-metabolism ideas challenged by new research
4. Researchers identify proteins involved in new neurodegenerative syndrome
5. Texas researchers and educators head for Antarctica
6. MGH researchers describe new way to identify, evolve novel enzymes
7. University of Pennsylvania researchers develop formula to gauge risk of disease clusters
8. University of Oregon researcher finds that on waters surface, nitric acid is not so tough
9. U of MN researchers discover noninvasive diagnostic tool for brain diseases
10. U of Minnesota researchers discover noninvasive diagnostic tool for brain diseases
11. Story ideas from the Journal of Lipid Research
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Lighting research center develops framework for assessing light pollution
(Date:10/29/2015)... --  MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical technology ... is pleased to announce that it has been selected ... of only three finalists for a 2015 Tekne ... category. The Tekne Awards honor Minnesota ... and leadership. iMedNet™ eClinical  technology ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... -- Daon, a global leader in mobile biometric authentication ... version of its IdentityX Platform , IdentityX v4.0. ... have already installed IdentityX v4.0 and are seeing ... UAF certified server component as an option and ... These customers include some of the largest and most ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... Oct. 29, 2015  Connected health pioneer, Joseph ... explosion of technology-enabled health and wellness, and the business ... The Internet of Healthy Things . ... smartphones even existed, Dr. Kvedar, vice president, Connected Health, ... care delivery, moving care from the hospital or doctor,s ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015 Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD ... at the following conference, and invited investors to participate ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. ... New York, NY      Tuesday, December ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... /CNW/ - iCo Therapeutics ("iCo" or "the Company") (TSX-V: ... the quarter ended September 30, 2015. Amounts, unless ... presented under International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS"). ... Andrew Rae , President & CEO of ... only value enriching for this clinical program, but ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... event of the year and one of the premier annual events for pharmaceutical ... ran from 8–11 November 2015, where ISPE hosted the largest number of attendees ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Inc., a worldwide provider of clinical research services headquartered in ... has set a new quarterly earnings record in Q3 of 2015.  ... Q3 of 2014 to Q3 of 2015.   ... the establishment of an Asia-Pacific office to ... and Mexico , with the establishment ...
Breaking Biology Technology: