NELPAG Circular No. 13

NELPAG Circular No. 13                                    1995 November 28

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
Secretary:  Eric Johansson     (telephone 508-667-0137)

     "Subscription" to this irregular news/information Circular is available by
sending self-addressed, stamped (32 cents in the U.S.A.) regular-sized
(9.5x4-inch) envelopes (SASE) to Dan Green at his postal address, or by
sending your e-mail address to NELPAG-REQUEST@YEEHAH.MERK.COM (Internet).
Contributed information for this Circular concerning outdoor lighting problems
in New England (or pertinent info from outside New England) are always welcome.
Please circulate this newsletter to all interested parties.  Look at our
World Wide Web site at URL


     At the August Stellafane convention, NELPAG members Peter Talmage, Mario
Motta, and Bernie Volz gave a short presentation at the end of the tent talks
on Saturday.  They discussed the current efforts of NELPAG and introduced the
7th draft of the "Good Neighbor Outdoor Lighting" pamphlet which was printed
up in large volume by Sky & Telescope for distribution at Stellafane.  Copies
were handed out to everyone in the audience and were also made avaiable at
other sites over the remainder of the weekend.  It was felt that the
distribution of GNOL will help a lot of people get started in their local
efforts to fight light pollution.  Everyone was encouraged to copy their copy
and spead them around at home.  A loud call of thanks goes to Sky & Telescope
(and particularly to Edwin Aguirre) for their effort and donation in supplying
the hundreds of copies of the pamphlet.   --- Peter Talmage
     Mario Motta further reports:  "On Saturday evening, I wrote an
announcement about NELPAG that was read by Morse [in connection with the
keynote evening talk]."  Bernie Volz adds:  "S&T and I handed out the "Good
Neighbor Outdoor Lighting"; we gave away about 200 of them.  The remaining
copies were dropped of at the bunchhouse and an annoucement was made during
the evening session letting people know that it was available.  Mario was
unable to get Stellafane to allow him (or anyone) from doing the NELPAG
briefing during the evening program --- they would only allow a brief
written announcement, which Mario wrote and was read.  One reason given for
not allowing the NELPAG briefing was because S&T paid for the xeroxing.
Apparently, Stellafane organizers are angry at S&T because they never cover
Stellafane.  I also suspect that they don't want to get into the habit
of doing these types of announcements because it could get out of hand."

+ The American Planning Association's monthly newsletter, called
  Zoning News, published in its October issue a four-page article
  on exterior night lighting issues.  The NELPAG got prominent mention
  therein, and subsequently Dan has received requests from landscape
  architects for information for planning (among other things) suburban
  subdivisions.  It is encouraging to see that non-governmental developmental
  and engineering groups are finally getting serious about this issue!
+ There is a great article entitled "Night blindness", by NELPAG Connecticut
  representative Arthur Upgren in the latest (Winter 1996) issue of The Amicus
  Journal, which is published by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
  The Amicus Journal has a circulation of 116,000.  I heartily encourage
  everyone to join the NRDC, membership of which includes a subscription to
  the Journal; this is one of the few environmental organizations that is
  top-heavy with scientists.  Annual membership is only $10/year; send checks
  to NRDC, 40 West 20th St., New York, NY  10011.
+ For those with World Wide Web access, check out the campaign of the British
  Astronomical Association called "Campaign for Dark Skies", via their Web
+ Philip S. Harrington (Long Island, NY) has written a master's thesis entitled
  "Designing A More Energy Efficient Urban Lighting System", which involved a
  detailed study of all outdoor lighting at Brookhaven National Laboratory.  He
  determined that a vast amount of money could be saved by converting from
  their high-wattage, unshielded lighting to a more sensible system.
+ Steven Plotnick (Rhinebeck, NY) writes:  "I have tried without success so
  far to get a lighting ordinance approved for my town of Rhinebeck.  The
  Town's Planning Board did agree [that] bad lighting is a problem but decided
  even the Kennebunkport ordinance was too much regulation."
+ Warren Offutt (Cloudcroft, NM) writes [on 1995 Feb. 2]:  "The 41st
  Legislature of the State of New Mexico has formally declared New Mexico to
  be a 'dark sky state'.  While this resolution has no teeth, it has been
  helpful in engendering the support of local jurisdictions.  The largest
  city in [Otero] County, Alamogordo, passed a lighting control ordinance
  about 5 years ago.  We have recently gotten the approval of the Trustees
  of Cloudcroft to proceed with an ordinance for that village, and just this
  past Monday, got the agreement of the County Commissioners to proceed on a
  [Otero] County-wide ordinance."
+ The 1995 April 9 issue of the Maine Sunday Telegram reported that the town
  of Turner (ME) voted to "turn off 29 of the town's 32 street lights [to
  save money]. . . Last year the town paid Central Maine Power Co. about
  $5000 to keep the lights lit.  This year the cost rose to about $5500. . .
  Reflectors will be placed prominently along the streets once the lights go
+ Peter Talmage passes this information from Larry Palow, Municipal Service
  Advisor at Central Maine Power, in a letter to all towns in its service area
  (dated May 31, 1995):  "In an effort to respond to requests from some of
  our towns, as well as to head in the same direction as the electric utility
  industry seems to be going, we have determined that the cutoff type of
  luminaire will become our standard fixture rather than the semi-cutoff
  fixture that we have been using (See attached photos).  The purpose of the
  cutoff fixture is to reduce glare to vehicular traffic as well as to reduce
  light trespass in residential areas. We will continue to use semi-cutoff
  fixtures as long as they are in inventory."  Peter adds:  "CMP services the
  majority of Maine, and I would expect the other two major utilities to
  follow suit. This would mean a slow but sure change over to all full cutoff
  utility supplied lighting.  This is progress!!"
+ Bob Wylie has passed along an interesting article by N. E. Pollard (NEP
  Lighting Consultancy, Bath, U.K.) entitled "Sky-glow conscious lighting
  design" and published last year in the lighting-engineering journal
  Lighting Res. Technol. 26(3), 151-156.  Among some of the remarks:  "As
  society becomes more environmentally conscious, the problems of obtrusive
  light (and particularly 'sky glow') have led many road lighting engineers
  to demand full cut-off luminaires emitting no light whatsoever above the
  horizontal. . . . Stray light going up into the sky is (even if one is not
  worried about seeing the stars) poor design, a waste of energy, and a waste
  of money.  Unfortunately, not all lighting installations are designed by
  good lighting engineers."  As noted above, it's good to see the lighting
  industry talking more openly about change!
+ Talmage also reports:  "I am now in production of alloy resin radial wave
  and admiral's hat reflectors that are being used by the new PEMCO Lighting
  Products company in the production of NEMA head fixtures.  Some of the
  radial-wave, 50-watt HPS units are going into Kennebunk (ME).  BECO (Boston
  Edison) has ordered up 15 admiral hat units for demo use in Lexington (MA)
  with various lamps.  I can now say for sure that it is about to happen."
+ Wisconsin State Assembly Bill 249 was introduced on March 23 by 8 state
  representatives and one state senator; the first Energy Committee vote in
  February 1994 defeated the bill by a narrow margin (9-7).  This bill aims to
  force proper outdoor night lighting.  Dan has a full version of the bill
  (via Dave Crawford) for those who are interested.

     This past Summer, John Bucci proposed an Outdoor Lighting Ordinance
for the City of Warwick in Rhode Island.  Mayor Chaffee and the Warwick
City Council have agreed to support as well as help implement an Outdoor
Lighting Ordinance for the second largest populated city in Rhode Island.
John used a guide from a NELPAG model ordinance packet provided by Dan Green.
He admits that NELPAG has been very helpful in offering strategy toward
his efforts.  Recently, a second draft has been sent to the town council
for more specific review and comments.  He hopes to have a final copy by
the end of this year.
     The proposed ordinance has received favorable response from the community.
The local newspaper interviewed John and featured a column entitled "Bring Back
the Night Sky" outlining reasons and motivations for implementing outdoor
lighting legislature to his home town.  More later.
 ---  John Bucci, Cambridge, Mass. (1995 Nov. 8)


Next NELPAG meeting:  A call for proposed meeting times some weeks ago
solicited a large range of acceptable dates.  It was thus decided to hold off
on another meeting until the new year.  A NELPAG Circular will be issued as


      from Arthur Upgren, Chair, Connecticut Section (6 July 1995):

     I just received word from my house representative that HB-6914 passed
both houses in the Connecticut State Legislature.  Section 6 of this composite
bill contains HB-5092, the bill that dealt with light pollution reported
favorably out of the house energy committee a few months ago.  The main
difference between that bill and Section of this one came at the instigation
of the Department of Transportation.  The concern of the DOT centered on
their fear that implementation of HB-5092 as it stood, could cost the state
millions of dollars.  I discount much of the merit of their objection but in
the present cost-cutting climate of this state, opposition to the waiver
forming the last part of Section 6 was probably futile.  The level of
implementation remains to be seen but now the terms "light pollution",
"glare" and "full cutoff" have a place in the statutes of a state at ground
zero just a year or two ago.
     Two IDA members were particularly instrumental in the passage of this
bill; Bob Crelin and Tom Davis were tireless in their efforts.  The
legislation in Maine and Massachusetts provided much of the incentive and
the supportive roles of the IDA and NELPAG were essential in starting
Connecticut in the direction of responsible outdoor lighting.
     This legislation may be one reason for my (fairly sudden) increased
participation in lighting decisions of the City of Middletown and the
Wesleyan Hills Association, representing the planned neighborhood in which
I live.  At their initiative and invitation, I am invited to Planning and
Zoning Commission meetings, and to help on disputes surfacing between the
WHA and Northeast Utilities over new lighting.  The full text of the
pertinent section follows:

  Sec. 6 (NEW) (a) As used in this section:
       (1)  "Fixture" means the assembly that holds a lamp and may
  include an assembly housing, a mounting bracket or pole socket, a
  lamp holder, a ballast, a reflector or mirror, and a refractor or lens;
       (2)  "Full cutoff luminaire" means a luminaire that allows no direct
  light emissions above a horizontal plane through the luminaire's lowest
  light-emitting part;
       (3)  "Glare" means direct light emitting from a luminaire
  that causes reduced vision or momentary blindness;
       (4)  "illuminance" means the level of light measured at a surface;
       (5)  "Lamp" means the component of a luminaire that produces
  the light;
       (6)  "Light trespass" means light emitted by a luminaire that
  shines beyond the boundaries of the property on which the luminaire is
       (7)  "Lumen" means a unit of measurement of luminous flux;
       (8)  "Luminaire" means the complete lighting system, including the
  lamp and the fixture;
       (9)  "Permanent outdoor luminaire" means any luminaire or system of
  luminaires that is outdoors and intended to be used for seven days or
  longer; and
      (10)  "State fund" means any bond revenues or any money appropriated
  or allocated by the general assembly

  (b) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, no state funds
  shall be used to install or replace an outdoor luminaire for roadway
  lighting unless (1) the luminaire is designed to maximize energy
  conservation and to minimize light pollution, glare, and light trespass,
  (2) the luminaire's illuminance is equal to the minimum illuminance
  adequate for the intended purpose of the lighting, (3) for a luminaire
  with a rated output of more than 1800 lumens used on state secondary
  highways, as defined in section 13a-14 of the general statutes, and state
  special service highways, as defined in said section 13a-14, such luminaire
  is a full cutoff luminaire, (4) for a luminaire with a rated output of more
  than 1800 lumens used on state primary highways, as defined in said section
  13a-14, for which, in the opinion of the commissioner of transportation, use
  of a full cutoff luminaire shall not compromise the safety of the highway,
  increase the cost of the lighting plan or lighting replacement for the
  highway or violate any provision of federal law, such luminaire is a full
  cutoff luminaire, and (5) the commissioner of transportation determines that
  the purpose of the lighting installation or replacement cannot be achieved
  by reducing the speed limit in the area to be lighted or by installing
  reflectorized roadway markers, lines, warnings, informational signs or
  other means of passive or reflective lighting.

  (c)  The commissioner of transportation or his designee may waive the
  provisions of subdivision (3) of subsection (b) of this section when,
  after a request for such a waiver has been made and reviewed, the
  commissioner or his designee determines that such a waiver is necessary
  for the lighting application.  Requests for such a waiver shall be made
  to the commissioner or his designee in such form as the commissioner shall
  prescribe and shall include, without limitation, a description of the
  lighting plan, a description of the efforts that have been made to
  comply with the provisions of subdivision (3) of subsection (b) of this
  section and the reasons such a waiver is necessary.  In reviewing a
  request for such a waiver, the commissioner shall consider design safety,
  costs and other factors deemed appropriate by the commissioner.

  (d)  The provisions of this section shall not apply to the installation
  or replacement of luminaires for which the secretary of the office of
  policy and management (1) conducts a life-cycle cost analysis of one or
  more luminaires which meet the requirements set forth in subsection (b)
  of this section and one or more luminaires which do not meet such
  requirements, and (2) certifies that a luminaire which meets such
  requirements is not cost effective and is not the most appropriate
  alternative based on the life-cycle cost analysis.


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).