4 PRINCIPLES

for good outdoor lighting 

by everyone

Anyone can easily mitigate the adverse effects of artificial light at night on the environment and reduce light pollution by adopting good lighting practices at home.

The idea of ​​reducing light pollution is often interpreted as completely stopping the use of lights at night, which is actually a long way from reality:

reducing light pollution is simply using light in a better way.

Combine these 4 principles for outdoor lighting that keep the sky and night naturally dark. 

 

CHOOSING THE RIGHT LIGHTING

Light fixture

  • Fully shielded light source

  • Downward light beam

  • Motion detector, timer and dimmer controls

  • Visors and shields limiting light trespass

  • Full cutoff amber LED fixture

Light bulb

< 2200K

Bug light

Yellow

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  • For a brightness of more than 1000 lumens :

    • 1800K to 2200K, Amber LED and "Bug light"

  • For a brightness below 1000 lumens :

    • Colour temperature of 3000K or lower

4000K

5000K

ORIENTATION

Choose a luminaire whose light is directed entirely towards the ground.

 

These fixtures reduce glare, use their light more efficiently and limit skyglow.

No light should be sent above the horizon and outside of the property.

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COLOUR

Use amber and warm-coloured light sources.

White light causes more glare, more skyglow, and has more negative impacts on human health and the environment.

To reduce these adverse effects, use a colour temperature of 2200K or less.

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INTENSITY

Use the right amount and intensity of light for sober and uniform lighting.

The eye adapts better when the luminosity of artificial light sources is in harmony with the ambient luminosity.

 

With lower contrast, nighttime places are more visible and the general visibility is better.

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TIMING

Adjust the timing and duration of outdoor lighting.

Install a timer, a motion detector, or simply remember to turn the lights off at the end of the evening.

The main goal is to use artificial light only when needed.

Here is a list of outdoor light fixtures available in hardware stores and retailers in Quebec that respect these eco-lighting principles.

* This list is not exhaustive. The actual product offering may vary.

For fixtures with higher luminous output, see our Recommended luminaires page and ask your retailer or distributor for outdoor fixtures that meet the highest standards of night and dark sky protection.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

“Do LEDs reduce light pollution?”

No, LEDs can reduce power consumption, but not necessarily light pollution. It is possible to choose amber or yellow coloured LEDs which will reduce the impact of light at night.

 

On the other hand, the majority of available LEDs are often too white and can increase light pollution.

 

One of the LEDs' advantages is that it is possible to effectively aim their light downwards and limit emissions above the horizon.

...

"Will reducing outdoor lighting risk reducing safety?"

No. Several studies have shown that reducing lighting does not have a negative impact on safety and that increasing lighting does not directly result in a positive effect on safety either.

In addition, the improper use or installation of light fixtures may make the situation worse. Bad lighting can create glare and strong contrast that will affect the good visibility of the nocturnal environment.

...

“My neighbour has very bright and disturbing lighting that shines towards my house. What should I do?

Your neighbour probably doesn't realize that his light is a nuisance to others and the environment.

Many people believe that abundant lighting increases safety, but this belief is not supported by studies. It is a false sense of security.

Do not hesitate to discuss with your neighbour and ask his opinion to find a solution such as redirecting the light, changing to a less powerful and amber-coloured bulb, or installing a motion detector.

 

Showing goodwill will help in finding a solution for all. Stay positive and be understanding of his personal reasons to use lighting. Everyone wants to be able to relax at home.

 

You can share advice with him for good lighting and educate him about the negative effects of light pollution.

...

“What should I do if the lights on my street are not adequate and illuminate inside my house?”

Contact the entity responsible for street lighting in your municipality and explain to them how this problem affects your quality of life. Fixtures causing intrusive light can be fitted with visors or reoriented correctly.

If these steps do not lead to a resolution, be diplomatic but persistent. Contact a local elected representative to ask for support in your request.

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) recommend that municipalities do not install white LED fixtures. White light not only has more negative impacts on nocturnal wildlife and sky visibility, but it also produces more glare and can affect the sleep cycle.