Sustainability in Action

Lighting design considerations for protecting our dark skies

Richard Garrett

Mindful, Balanced Illumination

As urbanisation continues to expand, the importance of preserving our natural night skies becomes increasingly evident. Dark Sky accreditation aims to mitigate light pollution and promote responsible outdoor lighting practices. In this article, we explore the essential elements, additional considerations, and biodiversity impacts associated with creating luminaires that contribute to dark sky protection.

Essential elements for Dark Sky accreditation

Minimal light pollution

To achieve Dark Sky accreditation, luminaires must emit minimal light above the horizontal plane. This necessitates optical excellence, ensuring that light is directed precisely where needed without unnecessary spillage. By focusing on precision in light distribution, manufacturers can create products that not only comply with dark sky standards but also enhance the effectiveness of outdoor lighting.

Installation considerations

Dark Sky accreditation requires luminaires to be mounted on a post top with limited potential for tilt. Products that offer bracket mounting or alternative installation methods that may compromise dark sky principles are unlikely to receive accreditation. Careful consideration of the luminaire's mounting options is crucial in maintaining the integrity of dark sky initiatives.

Colour temperature

Awareness of the impact of colour temperature on outdoor environments is crucial for dark sky protection. To be Dark Sky accredited, product ranges must offer warmer colour temperatures. This commitment ensures that outdoor lighting contributes to a more natural and harmonious nocturnal environment, avoiding the disruptive effects of cooler colour temperatures.

Additional considerations for Dark Sky protection

Light spill cut off through advanced optics

Our luminaires incorporate advanced optics to minimise light spillage beyond designated areas. Precision in directing light enhances visibility while reducing unnecessary intrusion into the night sky.

Lower intensity when needed

The ability to adjust light intensity is essential for dark sky compliance. Our UrbaSens Civic and City Connect systems help lower luminaire intensity during off-peak hours or when less illumination is required contributing to energy conservation and minimising light pollution.

Addition of motion sensors

Incorporating motion sensors into outdoor lighting solutions enhances dark sky protection. UrbaSens Detect ensures lights are only at full output when necessary. Our motion sensors reduce the overall impact on the night environment and conserve energy.

Benefits of warmer colour temperature for nocturnal biodiversity

Choosing warmer colour temperatures not only aligns with dark sky requirements but also offers ecological benefits. Warmer hues are less disruptive to nocturnal biodiversity, supporting the natural behaviours of various species.

Precise luminaire placement

Our lighting design teams can work with you to discuss the strategic placement of luminaires on your unique project to ensure that light is directed precisely where needed, avoiding unnecessary spillage, and minimising the impact on the night sky.

Local regulation compliance

Adherence to local regulations and guidelines is essential for dark sky protection. Manufacturers should consider regional requirements to ensure their products meet or exceed established standards.

Ongoing maintenance

Regular maintenance is vital to sustaining dark sky efforts. Ensuring that luminaires remain in optimal condition over time contributes to their continued compliance with dark sky standards. Connected solutions light UrbaSens Civic and City Connect can help you understand any maintenance requirements without having to manually check a luminaire’s functionality.

Biodiversity considerations in Dark Sky protection

Reducing sky glow – sea turtles

Diminishing beachfront lighting during nesting seasons aids sea turtles in finding their way to the ocean. This preventative measure reduces disorientation, leading to higher nest success rates and improved sea turtle population numbers.

Aiding avian migration – nocturnal birds

Establishing dark sky preserves contributes to maintaining natural behaviours, aiding migration, and enhancing the survival and ecological balance of nocturnal bird species.

Supporting feeding habits – bats

Controlling light pollution in bat habitats through dimmed or motion-activated lighting preserves their foraging and hunting behaviour. This, in turn, benefits pest control and pollination within the ecosystem.

NightTune technology

By adopting our range of DarkSky Approved luminaires you can help minimise light pollution. Our unique NightTune technology additionally utilises lower lumen output and warmer colour temperatures when full output is not required. You can download our Whitepaper on protecting dark skies here -


Dark Sky protection is not just a goal; it is a responsibility for the lighting industry. By incorporating the essential elements and additional considerations outlined in this guide, manufacturers can create luminaires that not only achieve Dark Sky approval but also contribute to biodiversity conservation. Mindful illumination ensures that our night skies remain a source of inspiration and wonder, promoting harmony between human activities and the natural environment.