THE IMPORTANCE OF OUR DARK SKIES
The Brecon Beacons National Park has proudly held International Dark Sky Reserve status since 2013 and we are one of only 18 reserves in the world. Find out more about our dark skies here.
This means that we posses a distinguished quality of starry nights and nocturnal environment that is protected for its scientific, natural, educational and cultural properties.
Preserving these beautiful dark skies is incredibly important to us however the inappropriate and excessive use of artificial light, also known as light pollution, is not only impairing our view of the universe but it’s also having a huge impact on humans, wildlife and our climate.
We’ve put together 10 useful tips on how you can reduce your own light pollution and help safeguard the night’s sky, and our planet, for years to come.
- Switch off your lights
Do you know that 50% of light pollution is produced by light that no one needs? Turning off unnecessary lighting is one quick and simple way to reduce light pollution. Not only this, but it can help reduce your energy costs too.
- Keep your curtains closed
By keeping your curtains or blinds closed, light can be contained inside your property and so minimises the risk of it emitting to the night’s sky.
- Safety lights
Lots of people look to lights as a form of security however recent research has suggested that light doesn’t actually deter criminals. If you are concerned about safety it would be kinder to the environment to switch to motion detection sensors or dimmed lighting as an alternative.
- Choose your colour temperature
It’s important to avoid bright white light when it comes to choosing your bulb. The best colour temperatures are warmer, around 3,500 degrees, and this can be easily found on the packaging of your bulb. It is also beneficial to avoid blue lights as this light can easily scatter through the universe causing increased pollution.
LED lighting can sometimes emit less pollution than other types of bulbs however it’s all about the quality. Well designed LED lights can reduce the amount of wasted light the bulbs emit but it’s best to find options that have a CCT of <3,000 to minimise blue emission and has adaptive controls including dimmers and timers.
- Add a shield
Shielding your lights, especially those that are outside, can reduce light pollution. It also keeps light directed where it needs to be. There are a variety of different light shields you can use including solid caps and lightshades.
- Keep your light pointed down
It is important to direct light downwards, not up into the sky, so that light does not spill beyond where is it needed. If the light is visible from beyond your property then it is doing more harm than good.
- Use active controls
Ensuring that your lighting is connected to a light switch, timer or motion sensor means that it is only used when needed. The International Dark Sky Association recommends that when using motion sensors, these should be set to times of five minutes or less.
- Talk to others
Why not become a Dark Sky Ambassador in your area and educate others on how they can reduce light pollution. We all have a part to play in minimising our usage of light so if you spot a neighbour or friend using bright lighting, why not suggest some alternative fixtures that can help them make a difference.
- Use IDA approved lighting
The International Dark Sky Association has implemented a Fixture Seal of Approval which provides third-party certification for lights that minimise glare and don’t pollute the night sky. Take a look here if you want to find the best lighting for a certain solution: https://www.darksky.org/our-work/lighting/lighting-for-industry/fsa/