For any outdoor illumination project, community lighting regulations must be considered. Almost every town has some sort of ordinance regarding the installation of an outdoor light source. The rules are generally put in place to protect neighbors from unnecessary light trespass disputes, and the environment from damaging light pollution. However, in some cases the rules may be a little misguided.

Access Fixtures specialists have encountered many customers who are struggling to reconcile the needs of their lighting project with the strict lighting regulations put in place by local authorities. In some cases, the rules make it easier to choose the most environmentally friendly option. For example, some towns have banned the use of mercury vapor, metal halide, high pressure sodium, or halogen lighting outright— leaving LED as the only viable option.

At times these strict rules can seem almost arbitrary. They appear to be designed to solve the problem of light pollution by making the installation of new lights impossible, as opposed to providing and enforcing realistic solutions that take into account the technical aspects of lighting.
Another common but unreasonable lighting regulation deals with the design of the fixtures themselves. In some towns the height of new poles must end below the roofline, usually 10 feet or less. To someone who does not know anything about lighting, this would seem like a good way to keep the light from spilling out into unwanted areas. In reality, the light source would be visible regardless of the pole’s height, while a taller fixture would prevent the distributed light from spilling out of the designated area and into a neighbor’s window.

These factors, combined with strict community lighting standards regulating the number of watts the fixtures can use, can make projects such as lighting an outdoor sports lighting extremely challenging. The customer may need to add more poles at steeper angles to spread light evenly with adequate visibility. It also limits the efficiency of the project by increasing the number of fixtures required. If a customer is only willing to add two poles, they may be left with a fraction of the light they actually need.

Many of our LED fixtures can help to meet dark sky compliance regulations. LED uses less energy and lasts longer than any other available lighting option. It is also possible to have a downward facing LED fixture with a “forward throw,” which allows the light to spill forward over the court without angling the luminaire and creating light pollution.

Is the red tape in your town keeping you from updating your outdoor fixtures? Call an Access Fixtures specialist today, and let us find you the perfect lighting solution.