When you’re looking for supplemental nighttime security that’s eco-friendly, you’re going to find a lot of people interested in this subject. The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) makes it their primary concern that light pollution
doesn’t clash with our beloved night sky. The IDA’s concern is for more than viewing pleasure of the night sky, but also that energy consumption by lighting is decreased. The less energy we waste, the better off our environment is. Also, light-pollution affects the local eco system for nocturnal animals, disorienting the hunting cycle that has taken place over millions of years to develop. And finally, we must be worried about human health and our quality of nighttime tranquility without overuse of outdoor lighting.
No one has done more research on the subject of finding the highest quality of eco-friendly lighting than the IDA, and a list of their approved products can be found at their website here. A list of distributors can also be found here. If you’ve checked their site, you can see that there are only two options for distributors on their website, so I gave them both a look. As a matter of opinion, the IDA believes that security lights are ineffective deterrents against nighttime crime. So naturally, their approved distributors deal mostly in cosmetic lighting that runs all night, including low pressure sodium lights that are almost never used in security lighting.
Why does the IDA think that security lighting isn’t secure? They claim that there are no studies proving that a lighted area and crime prevention are linked. Even if some of us aren’t convinced by that, the IDA does bring up some important points. Unless a light is pointing downwards, an upward facing light will only produce glare in the faces of onlookers and can easily hide persons with criminal intent behind the glare. Also, criminals need light to work as much as they need darkness to hide, so the lighting must be more incriminating on them then helpful, and this is done by pointing the light straight downward to expose the persons instead of a large area.
The distributors in IDA, as I’ve said, are all good sources of low power eco-friendly, non-light polluting lighting. However, to find a good, affordable, usable and eco friendly lighting fixture you may need to look no further than your local hardware store. The security lights on the IDA’s affiliate sites sell motion detectors separate, but there are plenty of options that include an all in one security lighting package. Home Depot for example sells many shielded security lights that provide a good range of white light and claim to be energy efficient. Many of them must be turned off during the day or you can buy a timer separately. The most popular ones seem to be the headlight looking floodlights, but these, as we’ve mentioned, can cause glare and provide criminals with ample light to do their work.
However if you’re reading this article I think I can assume that you have access to the internet, and there is no more diversity in shopping and interests than online. Coolstuffcheap.com, Outdoorlightingsource.com and Lampsplus.com both offer solar powered security lights with built in motion detectors. Very simple setup, however many are the floodlight based security lights, so if we’re to follow the rules of restricting light pollution and angling the light downwards to expose criminals you may need to be a little creative. Angling the floodlight downward will help, but the motion sensor will not be activated until someone comes very close (which might serve even better to scare a would-be criminal).
A few key points to summarize:
– Reduce light pollution by angling lights downwards and using light shields
– Low energy lights are available at most hardware stores for a reasonable price
– Solar powered security lights are simple to set up and are energy friendly
– Avoid glare that can conceal criminals
– Put the light where the possible intruder will be washed with light, not your property.
International Dark-Sky Association Website