NELPAG Circular No. 3
NELPAG Circular No. 3 1994 February 9
New England Light Pollution Advisory Group (NELPAG)
Editor: Daniel W. E. Green [Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory;
60 Garden Street; Cambridge, MA 02138] (telephone 617-495-7440)
e-mail: green@cfa (.bitnet, .span, or .harvard.edu)
Secretary: Eric Johansson (telephone 508-667-0137)
email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
"Subscription" to this irregular news/information Circular is available by
sending self-addressed, stamped (29-cent) regular-sized (9.5x4-inch) envelopes
(SASE) to Dan Green at his postal address, or by sending your e-mail address
to either Dan or Eric using the e-mail addresses above. Sections in this
Circular are written by Dan (D.G.) unless noted otherwise. Contributed
information for this Circular concerning outdoor lighting problems in New
England (or pertinent info from outside New England) are welcomed. Please
circulate this newsletter to all interested parties.
LOCAL BOSTON AREA MEETINGS HELD ON 1994 JANUARY 23 AND FEBRUARY 3
Five NELPAG members met at the home of Mario Motta (Lynnfield, MA) on the
evening of January 23 to re-write the Massachusetts Outdoor Lighting Bill that
was published in NELPAG Circular No. 2. In addition to Mario, those attending
the meeting were Eric Johannson, Bernie Volz, Michael Ratner, and Dan Green.
A new and expanded version of the bill was written that was based heavily on
the Maine lighting bill (also published in the last NELPAG Circular).
This was circulated to NELPAG members by e-mail during the week prior to the
January 29 meeting for revision, and the resulting version was presented at
the January 29 meeting (see below).
It was agreed at the January 23 meeting that another local meeting (open
to all interested individuals) will be held on Sunday evening, February 27,
beginning at 7 p.m., for the purpose of developing local city/town information
packages concerning proper outdoor lighting. This will obviously take several
meetings to complete, but such a package should be available at the time of
the Energy subcommittee hearings at the State House this spring. Contact Dan
or Eric if you wish to attend the February 27 meeting; the location will be
determined once we have an idea how many people plan to attend.
As a result of discussions at the Jan. 29 NELPAG meeting at Harvard
Observatory, our proposed Massachusetts outdoor lighting bill was greatly
reduced in size again, and a special local meeting was called for Feb. 3, in
which to work further on revisions, again at Mario Motta's house. Prior to
the Feb. 3 meeting, several new versions of the bill were circulated by the
local group via e-mail. The Feb. 3 meeting included all those present at the
Jan. 23 meeting, plus lighting consultant Bob Wylie. A nearly final bill was
produced at that meeting, with slight grammatical revisions added the next day
before distribution on the NELPAG e-mail network. The "current" version of
the bill is published below, and this was sent to Rep. Marzilli on February 8.
Meanwhile, the next scheduled local meeting is still on course for the evening
of Feb. 27. -- D.G.
NELPAG MEETING ON 1994 JANUARY 29
About 14 people attended the scheduled meeting in Phillips Auditorium here
at Harvard Observatory --- two from Maine and the rest from Massachusetts.
Peter Talmage talked about what has been happening in Maine, specifically that
lighting engineers associated with IES have submitted a revised bill to their
state legislature to replace the bill that was passed a couple of years ago
(which was published in NELPAG Circular No. 2); the suggested revision is
included with this Circular (3 pages). Bob Stefanik, Director of the Oak
Ridge Observatory (Harvard, MA), spoke for a while on his efforts concerning
bylaw-mandated light controls in the towns of Harvard and Boxboro and
concerning satisfying the Environmental Impact Statements regarding the Fort
Devens military base located 10 miles from the Observatory.
Most of the remainder of the meeting was devoted to talk about the
Massachusetts Outdoor Lighting Bill (latest version is included below). State
Rep. Jim Marzilli of Arlington was present to talk about the legislative
process for passing a bill in this state and also to comment on our suggested
revision of the Lighting Bill. The discussion was enlightening, and Marzilli
explained how difficult it is to pass a bill in this state. Normally hearings
on a bill are not scheduled for two years in a row, but Marzilli thinks that
he can get an Energy Committee hearing for this spring (date unknown much in
advance). Marzilli encouraged deletion of any direction to cities and towns
in the bill, because cities and towns tend to rebel at such state bills. The
new wording is directed toward state lighting only, the idea being that we
should take one step at a time. If the bill below should pass, then one can
think about addressing towns and cities in a separate bill.
We agreed that new people should testify at the next hearing (Steve O'Meara
and Paul Messerschmidt testified last March at the Massachusetts State House),
and we began talking about who would be available. Mario Motta has volunteered
to testify as a physician with data concerning elderly night vision and glare
lighting (see his remarks below), and he thinks that he can get one or two of
his older patients with cataracts to testify on our behalf. Bob Wylie has
agreed to testify both as a lighting consultant and as an older person with
cataracts who has difficulty with poor night street lighting. Bob Stefanik
will be available as a professional astronomer who is regularly dealing with
outdoor lighting laws and battles.
The January 29 meeting went well over the scheduled two hours because of
the talk concerning the proposed Massachusetts bill, and we never got to the
point of planning another NELPAG regional meeting. Three months was thought
to be a good interval between such meetings, so perhaps we can tentatively
schedule another NELPAG meeting for Saturday, May 21, for 10 a.m.-12 noon at
Harvard Observatory. Please send your comments on this to Dan or Eric for
preferred alternate days if May 21 is not good for you, and we'll try and pick
the best date. Another NELPAG Circular will be issued around April to give
further updates and to give a definite date and time for the next NELPAG
regional meeting. -- D.G.
Revised Massachusetts Night Lighting Bill: NELPAG Committee version 7B.
1994 Feb. 7; revision by Dan Green, Bernie Volz, Bob Wylie, Eric Jacobsson,
Mario Motta, and Michael Ratner.
Informal Title: Massachusetts Outdoor Lighting Bill
Official Title: An Act to Improve the Quality of Outdoor Night Lighting to
Conserve Energy, Reduce Light Pollution, and Improve Safety
by Reducing Glare
No state funds shall be used to install any new permanent outdoor luminaire or
to replace an existing permanent outdoor luminaire unless:
A. The new or replacement luminaire is a full-cutoff luminaire when the
rated output of the luminaire is greater than 1,800 lumens;
B. If a lighting recommendation or regulation applies, the minimum
illuminance specified by the recommendation or regulation is used;
C. If no lighting recommendation or regulation applies, the minimum
illuminance adequate for the intended purpose is used, giving full
consideration to energy conservation, glare, and minimizing light
D. For roadway lighting, a determination is made that the purpose
of the lighting installation or replacement can not be achieved by
installation of reflectorized roadway markers, lines, warnings
or informational signs, or other passive means; and
E. Adequate consideration has been given to conserving energy and
minimizing glare, light pollution, and light trespass.
Exceptions from the provisions of this bill are permitted only when:
A. Federal laws, rules and regulations take precedence over these
B. Fire, police, rescue, or repair personnel need light
for temporary emergency situations;
C. There are special requirements, such as sports facilities and monument
or flag lighting; all such lighting shall be selected and installed to
shield the lamp(s) from direct view to the greatest extent possible, and
to minimize upward lighting and light trespass; or
D. A determination has been made, established through an open, public
hearing process, that there is a compelling safety interest that can not
be addressed by any other method.
A. "Luminaire" means a lighting system, including a lamp or lamps together
with the parts designed to distribute the light, to position and protect
the lamps, and to connect the lamps to the power supply.
B. "Lamp" means the component of a luminaire that produces the light.
C. "Lumen" is a specific standard unit of measurement of luminous flux.
D. "Full-cutoff luminaire" means a luminaire that allows no direct light
from the luminaire above a horizontal plane through the luminaire's lowest
E. "Direct light" means light emitted directly by a lamp, off a reflector,
or through a refractor of a luminaire.
F. "Glare" means direct light emitted by a luminaire that causes reduced
vision or momentary blindness.
G. "Light pollution" means general sky glow caused by the scattering of
artificial light in the atmosphere, much of which is caused by
H. "Light trespass" means light emitted by a luminaire that shines beyond
the boundaries of the property on which the luminaire is located.
I. "Outdoor light fixtures" means outdoor artificial illuminating devices,
installed or portable, used for flood-lighting, general illumination, or
J. "Permanent outdoor luminaire" means any fixed luminaire or system of
luminaires that is outdoors and that is intended to be used for 7 days or
K. "State funds" means any bond revenues or any money appropriated or
allocated by the Massachusetts Legislature.
L. "Roadway lighting" means permanent outdoor luminaires that are specifically
intended to illuminate roadways for automotive vehicles.
FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS CONCERNING THE MASSACHUSETTS OUTDOOR LIGHTING BILL
"I met with Mayor Peter Torrigian of Peabody on 2/4/94, and gave him a
copy of the above bill. I explained in detail the reason and merits of the
bill, and he seemed genuinely interested. He stated that he would show it to
his legal department and to his town engineers, and then come back to me with
comments and suggestions. If we can show cost savings and improvement in
public safety, he would support the bill. This is important, as he is also
the chairman of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, and therefore his
recommendations would go statewide. He is also a well-respected mayor in
Massachusetts. At this point he seems in favor of the measure.
I also contacted Dr. Alan L. Lewis, who is the dean of Ferris State
University's College of Optometry. He has done research on the effects of
glare, showing that glare is a hazard, and is sending me a packet of these
studies in support of full-cutoff streetlighting. Hopefully these will be
of help in convincing legislatures to pass the light-pollution bill.
I will keep you posted on any more developments." --- Mario E. Motta
NELPAG STAFF NOTES
Arthur Upgren (Van Vleck Observatory) writes to say that, with
Connecticut being until now the only state without a NELPAG state Chair, he will
assume that role effective immediately. He can be reached at e-mail Internet
address AUPGREN@EAGLE.WESLEYAN.EDU or at Astronomy Dept., Wesleyan University,
Middletown, CT 06457.
Paul Messerschmidt of Boston has agreed to Chair the Power Utilities
Committee of NELPAG --- a position originally taken by me at our formation
meeting in November, but a position much better held by a professional energy
consultant such as Paul, who has many contacts with power companies. -- D.G.
NEW SOURCE BOOK ON HOME LIGHTING
"A newly published source of information on how to light homes, using the
latest energy-efficient lamps, luminaires and controls, is now available from
the Lighting Research Center. Titled "The Lighting Pattern Book for Homes," it
includes practical designs and plans for installing quality lighting in every
room of the house. This book is appropriate for those who help people light
their homes, including contractors, utility personnel and retailers. For more
information, contact the Lighting Research Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute, Troy, NY 12180 (Fax 518 276-2999; e-mail email@example.com)."
-- Judith Block
NOTES FROM NEW JERSEY
The following was sent to Dan Green by the Sky and Telescope columnist
on light pollution; it was edited for use in this Circular:
"I was very pleased to receive NELPAG Circular No. 2. The mere existence
of NELPAG and its newsletter is important. But I was impressed with both. I'm
not aware of any other regional light pollution group of this sort. Perhaps it
will be a good model upon which to form others.
Of course, the question of just what kind of organization works on each
level -- local, state, regional -- is interesting. We don't want to have
various groups needlessly reduplicating each other's efforts, or diluting
strength from each other or from the IDA. I've wondered what would be best
here in NJ -- we do have the UACNJ (United Astronomy Clubs of New Jersey --
despite the fact it now includes one Pennsylvania club), and its l-p notes in
its small newsletter. I'd like to hear any thoughts you may have on these
Which reminds me how much I liked your comment (and conviction) at the
[IAU light-pollution] colloquium in Washington, DC, in 1988: we've got to get
the astronomy magazines involved in the l-p fight. Five and a half years
later, S&T has come along very well, while Astronomy magagine's failure to
have almost anything on l-p in recent years is amazing (even for them!)."
-- Fred Schaaf [e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org]
NOTES FROM KENNEBUNKPORT, MAINE
Since 1977, the town of Kennebunkport has had a Street Lighting Committee,
which is a 5-member group of citizens that (a) has developed and updated the
town's Outdoor Lighting Ordinance and (b) continues to advise the town on
matters pertaining to outdoor lighting. Most of the advising has been to review
street lighting requests from citizens and to review new offers from the local
utility to "upgrade" the existing lighting.
Kennebunkport is fortunate to still have minimal street lighting consisting
of fixtures that primarily use low-lumen incandescent lamps. Over the years,
the town has not been persuaded by the local utility to "modernize" our
system and expand it, so we still have low levels of glare and light pollution
and a moderate operating cost. (Some utility proposals would have increased
the lighting levels and numbers of fixtures by a factor of about five.)
However, cost is becoming a concern, so the town is now interested in looking
into what options it has.
The Committee is presently studying the situation and has found that many
fixtures are in the wrong place, that there may be more than are needed, and
that higher-efficiency fixtures could be used. As a result, we are now writing
a policy that, with public input, will decide where the town wants to put
lights, what light levels it wants to have, and what type of light source and
fixture it wants to use. When the policy is accepted, we will draw up a
town-wide lighting plan that will detail where and what size and type of light
are to be installed. The plan will be given to our local utility, which will
install and maintain the fixtures.
I must add here that this is all possible due to a lot of communication
with our local utility, Central Maine Power, which is willing to look at
offering the new fixtures with lower-lumen lamps that the town would like to
use and rent. These fixtures are nothing like anything they presently offer,
so I commend them on their willingness to look at "friendlier" lighting.
(From a marketing standpoint, they realize this may be a new area.) They are
going to install some test fixtures for evaluation by the town. The fixtures
will be "modernized" versions of our present radial wave platter reflector
fixtures and "modernized" admiral's hats fixtures. Both types will use
coated 35-watt HPS lamps.
On the state level, Maine's lighting control bill is being challenged by
a rewritten bill that I fell would strip a lot of the teeth out of the
existing bill. This new bill was drafted by an ad hoc group of members
of the state chapter of the IES. Printed on the last three pages of this
Circular is the existing law with the recommended deletions (cross-outs)
and the recommended changes and additions (high-lights). They are concerned
with poor and unnecessary definitions and with the overly-restrictive
"full-cutoff" requirement as defined in the law. The rewrite adds an
excellent "Statement of Purpose", but the changes to (a) requiring lighting
to be designed to the latest IES recommendations, and (b) allowing many
exceptions, gives a great deal of leeway. At present, it appears that this
bill may not be heard this session. We have been working on some amendments,
which incorporate some of the proposed new bill's well-thought-out points
but will retain the original law's clearer controls.
--- Peter Talmage (P.O. Box 497A, Kennebunkport, ME 04046)
ENCLOSURES (by postal mail):
Proposed lighting-engineers' revision to existing Maine state outdoor
The NELPAG supports the International Dark-Sky Association and recommends
that all individuals/groups who are interested in the problems of light
pollution and obtrusive lighting should subscribe to the IDA Newsletter
(IDA membership costs $20.00 per year; send check to
International Dark-Sky Association, 3545 N. Stewart, Tucson, AZ 85716).