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Pittsburgh enacts first-in-the-nation “Dark Sky Lighting” law

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Codes and Standards

Pittsburgh enacts first-in-the-nation “Dark Sky Lighting” law

Applies to all city parks, facilities, and streetlights.

By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | October 19, 2021
Pittsburgh during the day

Courtesy Pixabay

Pittsburgh recently became the first city in the U.S. to enact “Dark Sky Lighting” ordinance.

The aim is to use technology, lower color temperature, and shielding to use outdoor lighting “only needed for comfort and safety,” according to a city news release. The law applies to all city parks, facilities, and streetlights.

The “Dark Sky Lighting” concept reduces unnecessary light pollution and dangerous glare that can come from lighting areas for no specific purpose, the release says. “Over-lighting and light pollution can negatively impact the mental and physical health of nearby neighbors, visibility for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, as well as habitats for plants, animals and birds,” it says.

The city will employ Dark Sky principles for newly installed or retrofitted streetlights, newly constructed and renovated park spaces and playgrounds, as well as newly constructed and renovated city-owned buildings. The Office of Sustainability and Resilience will compile a guide for residents and businesses to scale and implement Dark Sky principles on private property.

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