Hawaii lighting ordinances can be confusing and hard to understand. Like many dark-sky friendly communities, lighting regulations in Hawaii County are designed to keep the night sky clear and the stars visible. In addition to preserving the rare natural beauty of the island, dark-sky friendly lighting allows astronomers at observatories like the W.M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea to see astronomical bodies like stars and planets. Light pollution can obscure the views of telescopes and night-sky cameras and make it impossible for researchers to do their job.
Hawaii Lighting Ordinances Explained
Hawaii’s lighting ordinances are more complex and stringent than most dark-sky friendly cities’ are. For example, not even things like neon LED light bars and under-chassis lighting are permitted for vehicles! Hawaii uses a classification system that defines three classes of lighting and the regulations placed on each class of lighting. The chart containing the official ordinances is to the right of this text. Violation of these ordinances is punishable by up to $500 in fines.
Class I Lighting is defined as lighting where CRI is important such as eating areas, repair shops, and recreational facilities. Lights in this category may be LED or low pressure sodium but they must be fully shielded. All lights in this category must be off from 11pm to sunrise.
Class II Lighting includes lighting that is used for general illumination of grounds, such as walkway lighting, roadway lighting, and sidewalk lighting. This lighting must also be fully shielded and low pressure sodium, with no exceptions.
Class III Lighting, which is considered to be the least essential type of lighting, includes any decorative lighting such as sconces for buildings, landscape lighting, or pond lighting. All decorative lighting must be fully shielded.
Low Pressure Sodium vs. PC Amber LED
Hawaii places special emphasis on low pressure sodium lighting for its outdoor fixtures. Low pressure sodium lighting is a type of induction lighting that is a cousin of fluorescent and neon lights. Low pressure sodium lamps are traditionally used for street lighting, tunnel lighting, and other industrial forms of lighting that do not require a high CRI. The benefit of LPS from a dark-sky friendly perspective is its very narrow wavelength. The narrow wavelength means that LPS doesn’t obscure the views of astronomers or stargazers in the same way that broad-UV spectrum light does.
However, PC Amber, which is a very specialized type of LED lighting, provides all the benefits of low pressure sodium without the drawbacks of induction lighting. It also provides better color rendering and higher lumen output with no additional light pollution. The chart to the right shows the difference between LPS and PC Amber LED.
If you are interested in purchasing PC Amber for Hawaii or another outdoor project, contact an Access Fixtures lighting specialist by calling 800-468-9925 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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