Lighting the Outdoors

Lighting engineer fot kerry dark sky reserve

Denis O’Connor retro-fitting yet another outdoor light in the Kerry International Dark-Sky Reserve

Locals now living in Ireland’s only Internationally recognised Dark-Sky Region are serious about making sure that the area complies with the Lighting management plan attached with the Application to the International Dark-Sky Association. Denis O’Connor who has been a fully qualified electrician for 40 years is the best man to carry out the work. He is a member of the IDA (www.darksky.org), a member of the Local Astronomy Group (South Kerry Astronomy Group), a member of the Kerry Dark-Sky Group and Chairperson of the local Heritage group. Below are some tips he has on retro-fitting your lights.

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STREET LIGHTS
good lighting

The picture on the left shows the impact that street lights can have on seeing the starry sky. Add fog to this picture and the situation gets much worse. A simple cap added to a street light can make a  surprising amount of difference.


HOMES

correctly lit hosue

People invest a lot of time and money into building their homes yet settle for cheap or downright bad outdoor lighting fixtures. Although we all can’t afford to live in a big house, good lighting around the outdoor of a home actually enhances how it looks at night as the picture above shows.


BUSINESSES

Businesses are the second biggest contributor to light pollution after public street lights.  Why the need for such a display of in-your-face advertising is anyone’s guess. Does it work- evidence says it doesn’t. Why leave lights on all night when there is no-one around is a good example of wasting money. Good lighting practice makes good sense – and saves money!


 TOP TIPS TO REMEMBERsave our stars logo

All it takes is a little bit of thought. Go outside when it is dark and look at your house/ business. Are the fixtures dark-sky friendly or are your outdoor lights lighting up not only your house and garden but the homes and gardens of your neighbours. The solution is easy, all it needs is your willingness to agree that together we can bring back the stars.

Simple rules to follow:

  •  Use outdoor light only when and where it’s needed.
  • Turn off lights when they are not needed.
  • A motion detector light is a great idea and much cheaper to run.
  • Use only the bulb wattage needed to do the job.
  • Avoid high wattage bulbs: they cost too much to run and are usually far too bright for the job its needed for.
  • Shine lights down, not up – why light up the sky just to light your pathway?
  • Buy  fixtures that are fully shielded, they are not that expensive and will save you money in the long run.

Remember: light pollution affects everybody. It is a serious environmental concern that wastes money and resources while jeopardizing wildlife,
our environment, health, and human heritage.

Denis can be contacted email:  denisoconnor04(at)gmail (dot)com – or call: 087 2912394 (Ireland)  or +353 87 2912394 (outside Ireland)

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