Avoid Polluting With Your Ottawa Landscape Lighting

Adding an Ottawa landscape lighting system to your home is a wonderful way to enhance your property and get the most out of those warm summer nights. But there can be a dark side to outdoor lighting. Despite being one of the most preventable environmental issues, light pollution is fast becoming a major concern for communities across Canada. Most people wouldn't think about light in the same category as smog or waste pollution, but it's true that excessive or misdirected light can have negative impacts that range from annoying the neighbours to health and safety risks.

What is Light Pollution?
Light pollution is the combination of sky glow, glare and light trespass caused by an overabundance of or poorly-designed artificial lighting.

  • Sky glow is caused by light that reflects off of particles in the atmosphere due to misdirected light sources. What is intended to illuminate the ground instead makes it next to impossible to see the night sky, especially in large urban areas such as Ottawa. You wouldn't assume that one Ottawa landscape lighting system would contribute much to the problem, but the effect is cumulative.
  • Glare results from bad lighting design and inadequately shielded fixtures, which direct light into common lines of sight. The discomfort that glare can cause actually decreases our ability to see – opposite to the purpose of the light in the first place. Even young eyes have difficulty compensating for the intense contrast, but older eyes increasingly have a tougher time adjusting, making for serious safety issues.
  • Light trespass is the form of pollution that is likely to cause problems between neighbours. This refers to light that is directed into areas where it is not needed or wanted, such as a bedroom window next door. Bright lights that are left on all night can also become a light trespass nuisance.

The Downsides of Poor Lighting Design
Aside from preventing our ability to enjoy starry nights or prompting an argument with the neighbours, there is evidence that too much night time light can also affect our health. Constant exposure to both natural and artificial light can disturb our sleep patterns, resulting in added stress, weight problems and even depression. In response to these effects, there are new areas of scientific research that study the human need for a certain amount of darkness.

And light pollution doesn't just affect humans. Excessive glare and sky glow can have an ecological impact, particularly on the migratory patterns of birds and other wildlife around urban areas.

Responsible Lighting Begins with Good Design
City bylaws include regulations on acceptable Ottawa landscape lighting and steps to correct problems. A number of other Canadian municipalities, such as Richmond Hill, Ontario and Calgary, Alberta are in the process of enacting stricter rules that affect maximum allowable brightness, times at which lights must be dimmed or turned off, and so on. There are even organizations that lobby for standards and practices for night time illumination, such as the International Dark-Sky Association.

Avoiding your own contribution to light pollution begins with awareness. The best way is to work with a reputable Ottawa landscape lighting designer that respects the dangers of light pollution and how to prevent it. Landscape Lighting by Nutri-Lawn does this by:

  • Offering shielded or low-wattage lighting fixtures that are specifically designed to prevent glare.
  • Providing expert designers that are trained for proper fixture placement, focus and brightness to achieve the desired lighting affect without reflecting light into unwanted areas or other cases where light is wasted.
  • Offering system timers that allow you to easily control when light is no longer needed, reducing your energy demand and the amount of potential light pollution.

Contact us now so that we can help you ensure that the enjoyment of your night time landscape is both safe and responsible.

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