Working toward legislation to curb light pollution in Illinois.

Illinois Coalition for Responsible Outdoor Lighting

dGo to website Table of Contents

  current page:
        Our Proposals>
                Why Legislate?

Why Legislate Lighting Regulations?

Why should the state regulate how people, businesses, towns and other agencies light up the night? There are two main reasons:

  • Energy Waste -- The federal government creates energy efficiency standards for vehicles, appliances, and other equipment which consumes large amounts of the nation's energy supplies. Building codes set standards for insulation requirements to reduce the energy load for heating and cooling. Outdoor lighting consumes a notable amount of the country's electric supply, and our society has the responsibility to mandate the reduction of energy waste in this area.
  • Environment -- Bad lighting practices do more than waste energy; stray light from one property can have deleterious effects not only on neighboring properties, but across a whole area. Federal and state laws are in place to protect us from practices which might pollute our air or water, or subject us to loud noise or other hazardous conditions, but no congruous regulations against irresponsible or hazardous lighting exist for our state.

Architects and property owners should not be concerned about design limits; many styles of responsible lighting fixtures are already available. Developers and builders might balk at the notion of yet another set of regulations being applied to their work, but in reality, having a uniform outdoor lighting code for the state would be easier for them than dealing with an increasing number of differing local ordinances. Electricians and fixture manufacturers & distributors should not be concerned about the futures of their professions; while some re-tooling may be needed if obsolete fixture types are banned, their businesses can ultimately benefit from the sale and installation of replacement, ecologically sound lighting.

Some members of the professional lighting engineering community have expressed the opinion that lighting issues are too complex for legislators and average citizens to understand, and therefore lighting practices should be decided upon by the professional community alone, without regulation. They point to advances in lighting efficiency which are already occurring, and how better fixtures are appearing in some new installations. But for the rest of us, what we see is more total glare year after year, and brighter nighttime skies each month. We look at the fixtures for sale at the many hardware stores and home centers around us, and see nothing much different from the poorly designed units which have been offered for decades. We see, out in our world around us, good new lighting practices being installed, but they're often swamped out by the bad ones along side of them. We see plenty of lighting installations going in which never were actually designed by professional lighting engineers. And we see an ever increasing amount of energy being consumed to light up our nights.

Therefore, the Illinois Coalition for Responsible Outdoor Lighting believes that it is appropriate and necessary for the citizens and legislators in our state to step in and provide an overlay of regulation to outdoor lighting, just as many other activities which effect the general good of our state and its people are regulated.

Visit us at Facebook!

light pollution Illinois Chicago Cook County DuPage County Will County Springfield energy enviromnent global warming anti light pollution legislation lighting ordinances