IDA’s mission is to preserve and protect the nighttime environment and our heritage of dark skies through environmentally responsible lighting. The need for environmentally responsible outdoor lighting that balances the human need for light with the need for dark skies drives every aspect of our work.
In recent years, IDA has witnessed a marked increase in the number of outdoor sports lighting complexes in community development for urban and suburban neighborhoods. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that more than 2,000 outdoor sports lighting complexes are either retrofitted or installed every year. Outdoor sports lighting facilities are constructed at schools, parks, and neighborhood complexes. The excessive amount of light associated with these complexes can be a nuisance for neighborhoods and create a number of environmental impacts.
When outdoor sporting venues were first lit, it was difficult to achieve lighting levels necessary for dark sky compliance. The lamp sources available at that time, such as incandescent, metal halide, and high-pressure sodium, were often too large to effectively shape the light to the field of play. These large lamp sources caused unwanted spillage and undesirable glare trespassing into the surrounding community. Today, LED technology allows for much greater precision and control of lighting, due to the much smaller size of the source.
To encourage the use of the best available dark sky technology for communities, IDA has established Criteria for Community-Friendly Outdoor Sports Lighting that embraces the values that many communities seek in their publicly illuminated spaces. These criteria ensure that outdoor sports lighting designs minimize light spill and glare into surrounding neighborhoods and natural areas, address local sustainability and energy reduction goals, and minimize sky glow to the greatest extent practicable. By utilizing IDA’s criteria, communities can demonstrate and promote outdoor sports lighting designs that meet the demanding task of illuminating night-time sports events while preserving night skies.
By adopting IDA-Criteria for Community-Friendly Outdoor Sports Lighting, communities will:
- Minimize neighborhood lighting nuisance by greatly reducing spill and glare disruption.
- Manage high angle glare, thus dramatically decreasing off-site light trespass and sky glow.
- Mitigate neighborhood nuisance factors and sky glow which, in turn, provide benefits to the environment, the astronomy community, and others.
- Minimize lumen densities, which reduce energy consumption.
It is anticipated that, within the next several months, IDA will create a program that formally recognizes and publicizes facilities validated to be in full compliance with IDA-Criteria for Outdoor Sports Lighting.