When it comes to lighting your outdoors, there are so many things you need to think about. Typically, most of us prioritize things like the type of lighting we want to buy, check the lighting’s energy efficiency, and much more. Getting LED lighting is the obvious choice as they are low maintenance, cheaper to run, and save energy. You can create a bright lighting environment around your building using LED lighting and create lighting effects using different colored lights. However, a critical aspect of outdoor lighting that we all forget to consider is how our landscape lighting design will affect our neighbors. Most of us overlook light trespass or light pollution, which could cause hot water with the neighbors.
What Does Light Trespass Mean?
Light trespass is a term used to define the light spills cast where they should not or not required. It is relevant to both commercial and domestic premises. It can be defined as the illumination from one property light up the outside of its perimeters. Glare from lights shining into the windows of your neighbors can be described as light trespass. The glare and light trespass both slay the beauty and functionality of lighting installations. While designing and installing outdoor lighting, make sure you walk around your building and examine your lighting effect from all viewing angles. The wrong lighting type, improperly aimed lighting and highly bright lights are common causes of light trespass.
Apart from lighting trespass, there are so many other things you should be concerned about as it could cause problems to your neighbors. Good outdoor lighting improves visibility, safety, and a sense of security around your building. On the other hand, it minimizes energy use, operating costs, and ugly glare. But if you choose poorly designed or low-quality lighting, then these could be wasteful and distractingly glary. Such lights would definitely harm the property values of your neighbors and the nighttime ambiance. And if you direct your landscape lighting uselessly above the horizon, creating a dark sky glow, then it will result in the “light pollution” that will wash out your view of the stars.
There are so many other things that you should be worried about. These include:
Glare: “Glare” is the light that beams directly into your eyes from a bulb. If you could see a bright bulb from a distance, then it’s a bad light. It serves no purpose and just impedes the vision of pedestrians, drivers, and cyclists. Good outdoor lighting lets you see a well-lit ground instead of a dazzling bulb.
Energy Wastage: Many outdoor lights waste energy as they spill much of their light in the area where it is not required, such as up into the sky. For such lighting that is not at all serving your purpose, you will be paying high energy bills for them. Many studies say people in the United States waste more than a billion dollars unnecessarily by lighting the night sky.
Excess Lighting: Some homes are flooded with much stronger lighting than actually required for safety and security.
How to Prevent Light Trespass?
The idea behind using landscape lighting is to enhance the beauty of your home and its security. Here, the purpose of adding outdoor lighting is not to show off your new fixtures. If you focus on showing off your building rather than lighting up the areas that could act as holes for intruders to sneak, then there is no point in having lights in your outdoors. Improper lighting angles and over shining lights could cause light trespass. Here are a few tips to help you avoid light trespass:
Carefully examine the place where you have installed your eve floodlights: If you are installing floodlights, then you must understand that they have too much lighting. Make sure you install them as few as possible to prevent too much lighting flood. Also, ensure they all are in a separate circuit so that they can be individually turned off when not required.
Check your lighting installation from neighboring properties: There is no other alternative than getting a view of your lighting system from the adjoining properties. This will help you have a picture of your property from their perspective. You will notice it immediately if you have created a light spill onto their property.
Match the fixture to the lighting purpose: If you want to light your pathway, make sure you choose low voltage walkway lighting. If you are installing fixtures on a long pole, then make sure your fixture shade keeps the light down. It should not allow spillover or glare. If you are using up-lights on a house or tree, make sure the fixture has a guard so that the light is directed only toward the subject.
Keep a check on your wattage: Avoid over illuminating areas. This not only looks stark and harsh on your subject, but also lighting reflection could flow over to unwanted areas. Also, you are just wasting money by burning more wattage than you actually need.