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International Dark-Sky Association

Model Lighting Ordinance Released to Promote Responsible Outdoor Lighting

IDA and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) proudly announce public release of the Model Lighting Ordinance (MLO) as a valuable guide for environmentally responsible outdoor lighting in North America. Developed jointly by the IDA and the IES over a period of seven years, the IDA/IES partnership will encourage broad adoption of comprehensive outdoor lighting ordinances without devoting extensive staff time and resources to their development.
 
The MLO outdoor lighting template is designed to help municipalities develop outdoor lighting standards that reduce glare, light trespass, and skyglow. The MLO offers several innovations to outdoor lighting regulation, including the use of five lighting zones to classify land use with appropriate lighting levels for each. Zones range from LZ0, designed for pristine natural environments andlimited outdoor lighting, to LZ4, for limited application in areas of extensive development in the largest cities. The second innovation limits the amount of light used for each property. Third, the MLO uses the IES’s new TM-15 -11 "BUG" (Backlight, Uplight and Glare) classification of outdoor lighting fixtures to ensure that only well-shielded fixtures are used. No uplight for area and street lighting is allowed in any zone. The MLO will be revised on a regular basis to include new information, feedback from municipalities using it and changes to IES standards.


About the Model Lighting Ordinance

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) have developed the Model Lighting Ordinance (MLO) to address the need for strong, consistent outdoor lighting regulation.  Please download and distribute.

Download Model Lighting Ordinance

Approved June 14, 2011

 IDA/IES Statement on January 30, 2012 MLO Revision

Règlement Type sur l’Éclairage Extérieur (Français)

Translation provided by IDA Quebec

 

MLO Press Release

Revision History

After the first public review (2009), the MLO was revised as follows:

  1. Added a User Guide
  2. Simplified the prescriptive method by relocating the Complete Site Method to the Performance Method
  3. Added an Optional Street Lighting Ordinance
  4. Converted all luminaires to a lumen allowance versus watts to avoid confusion.

 

Addressing comments after the second public review (2010), the MLO was revised as follows:

  1. Expanded 0% uplight to apply not only to street lighting but to area lighting
  2. Changed and revised allowances to initial luminaire lumens versus initial lamp lumens in order to encourage quality low glare luminaires and to account for LED absolute photometry
  3. Added a prescriptive method for car dealerships and service stations
  4. Recommended BUG value revisions in TM-15 to decouple the very high angle glare from uplight above 90 degrees. This was accepted by both BODs.
  5. Revised off site impact tables (C-1, C-2, C-3) to reflect the decoupled values in TM-15-11
  6. Reduced lumen allowances for outdoor retail in anticipation of reduced illuminance levels in the upcoming IES 10th Edition Handbook
  7. Limited the number of additional lumen allowances per application in the performance method
 

Model Lighting Ordinance

Comments & Revisions

The following documents contain comments and changes to MLO Draft II. The left side of the document contains original MLO text. The right side shows public comments. Responses and revisions appear in red.

Section I - Preamble

Section II - Lighting Zones

Section III - General Requirements

Section IV - Non Residential

Section V - Residential

Section VI - Lighting by Special Permit - User Guide

 Section VI - Lighting by Special Permit - Ordinance Text

Section VII - Existing Lighting

Section X - Definitions

Section XI - Streetlights - Pages 38–40

Tables - User Guide 24 and 28

Table A and B

Table C

Table D and E

Table F

Table G

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An MLO presentation by IDA board member, Jim Benya, PE, FIES, IALD, LC 

 

 


 

New Resource! An open letter by IDA Executive Director Bob Parks and IDA co-founders Dt. David Crawford and Dr. Tim Hunter discusses how the collaborative process has been a successful model for past IDA triumphs. Read letter >>

 


 

MLO Seminars

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To better inform the public on the mechanics of the MLO, IDA is offering a series of Webinar educational sessions.

 

 

A description of the motivation, purpose, applications, and potential impacts of the IES-IDA Model Lighting Ordinance (MLO).  "Lighting zones" are presented with examples of each, along with an explanation of the Prescriptive and Performance methods of compliance.  BUG (Backlight, Uplight, Glare) ratings of light fixtures are shown.  Presented by Nancy Clanton (Clanton & Associates, Inc.)

 

A description of the motivation, purpose, applications, and potential impacts of the IES-IDA Model Lighting Ordinance (MLO).  "Lighting zones" are presented with examples of each, along with an explanation of the Prescriptive and Performance methods of compliance.  BUG (Backlight, Uplight, Glare) ratings of light fixtures are shown.  Presented by Nancy Clanton (Clanton & Associates, Inc.)

 

 

The major features of the IES-IDA Model Lighting Ordinance (MLO) are presented by Nancy Clanton (Clanton & Associates, Inc.) with an emphasis on the functional aspects.

 

 

A series of "worked examples" showing how provisions of the IES-IDA Model Lighting Ordinance (MLO) are applied in certain practical cases, presented by Nancy Clanton (Clanton & Associates, Inc.).

 

 

  

Further Resources

  1. Simple Guidelines for Lighting Regulations
  2. Directory of Ordinances and Lighting Regulations
  3. Lighting Code Handbook (IDA)
  4. Recommended Lighting Zones (IDA)
  5. Initiating a Lighting Ordinance in Your Municipality (Pennsylvania Outdoor Lighting Council)