My Neighbor’s Lighting

(source: International Dark Sky Assn)

Light trespass is an unshielded fixture that casts a bright light that spills onto your property and perhaps even inside your home. Your neighbor may not realize their unshielded lighting is shining on your property, wasting energy, money, and creating a safety hazard. Don’t hesitate to ask them for their advice to solve the problem.

International Dark Sky Association suggests taking the following steps to educate your neighbor and by extension your community, about the value of dark sky-friendly lighting.

Hello Darkness My Old Friend (Black and White Edit) | Flickr

Practical Actions:

  • Make friends. Your neighbors probably don’t even realize their lighting is bothersome.
  • Stay positive. Be tactful and understanding about your neighbor’s right to light their property.
  • Suggest alternatives to their current fixture. Suggest ways they can move the light, shield it, or add a motion sensor so it’s activated only when needed. Offer to help get this done.
  • Talking to your neighbor is a great opportunity to be an advocate for good lighting. There are many reasons to use dark sky-friendly lighting. Read up on the issues regarding light pollution. IDA also has a number of educational resources that can be useful.
  • It’s useful to know the local costs of electricity (cents per KWH) and the local lighting control ordinances. This information is available from your regional utility company and on your utility bill.
  • Use local businesses or homes with good quality lighting as an example of effective security measures that are dark sky-friendly.
  • Suggest they talk with Ace Hardware (in Point Reyes Station) to learn about shielded light fixtures, motion detectors, and timers. Use the IDA Fixture Seal of Approval database to find dark sky-friendly fixtures and devices.
  • Don’t dismiss their need to feel safe. Remember that home is a place where everyone wants to feel relaxed and safe.
  • Explain that light trespass is a form of light pollution.
  • Remember, everyone wants the same thing: a chance to relax in his or her own environment. Work together to create an atmosphere that benefits the community
  • Write a letter. You may find it useful to put your thoughts on paper.