Responsible Home Lighting Principles

So you’ve gotten your Save Starry Skies plate (yay!), but you’re wondering what else you can do to protect our night skies. Dark Sky International has five principles to make sure your outdoor lighting isn’t making light pollution worse!

Infographic describing five lighting principles.

First, make sure you know why each of your outdoor lights is necessary. It’s fine to use lights to sit on your patio at night, or get down your stairs safely, but if you can’t think of a good reason for an outdoor light, consider taking it down. 

Next, consider where the light is shining. Twenty to fifty percent of outdoor lighting shines directly into the sky, contributing to light pollution. Light should be aimed only where it is needed, with properly shielded fixtures pointing it in the right direction.

Consider the brightness of your fixtures. Outdoor lighting should be kept as low as possible, so don’t use more light than you need to see. Overly bright fixtures also make it hard for your eyes to adjust, so while you may see great directly underneath the light source, you’ll miss seeing anything that’s out of the light’s reach.

Think about when you need light. It’s probably not all night long! Consider adding timers or motion sensors so that lights come on only when needed. And, as a bonus, these measures can also cut down on your electricity bill.

Finally, think about the color of your lights. Just like blue lights can hurt our eyes at night, they aren’t great for wildlife, either! Look at the CCT (correlated color temperature) when you buy bulbs for your outdoor fixtures, and make sure they’re 3000 K or lower. 

Want to put these tips into action? Check out this database of products, and find out how to conduct a lighting assessment of your home! The night skies will thank you.